Luc Boltanski’s intellectual range, creativity and originality have marked him out as a leading voice in contemporary French sociology. Currently Professor of Sociology at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris, in his early career he worked closely with Pierre Bourdieu within the tradition of ‘critical sociology’. Boltanski later work has reacted against certain elements of this perspective as he has sought to outline a ‘pragmatic sociology of critique’ that downplays the critical role of the sociologist and places greater emphasis on the ability of ordinary human actors to construct new interpretations of social reality in the service of critical activity. He has applied this framework to social phenomena ranging from abortion and capitalism to detective novels. Many of these central ideas have been developed in books published with Polity, such as On Critique, Love and Justice as Competences, The Foetal Condition and Mysteries and Conspiracies.