Michel Lagrée

Michel Lagrée, historian: born Rennes, France 2 May 1946; married (two sons, one daughter); died Cesson-Sévigné, France 15 October 2001.



Michel Lagrée, historian: born Rennes, France 2 May 1946; married (two sons, one daughter); died Cesson-Sévigné, France 15 October 2001.



Perhaps there has been a decline in the importance of intellectuals in present-day France; the matter is controversial. But everyone agrees that French historians are flourishing. Michel Lagrée, who has died at the early age of 55, is an example. He was a Breton who worked almost exclusively on Breton history. He had published some eight books and had two in the press. The importance of these publications, distinguished as they are, is that they contribute widely to the understanding of cultural, religious and social history.

Lagrée was born in Rennes, the son of a schoolteacher. He studied in the lycées of Avranches and Rennes, before winning a place at the Ecole Normale Superieure de Saint-Cloud, in 1967. Three years later he was placed first in France in the competitive examination of the agrégation d'histoire. He returned to Rennes, first as a teacher at the lycée, then as a lecturer at the University of Rennes-II. He had begun his research into the diocese of Rennes and fulfilled the traditional university requirements of preparing a thesis. In fact he did more, since he wrote two theses, the one dealing with the diocese of Rennes from 1815 to 1848, and the other, more considerable, being the religious and cultural history of Brittany, in the century from 1850 to 1950 – published as Religion et cultures en Bretagne (1850-1950) (1992).

The principal concern of these histories is to see how cultural and religious beliefs and practices were affected by changes in the modern world. But, while accepting that the general evolution of societies influenced religion, Lagrée believed that it was necessary to envisage a dialectic perspective between the religious phenomenon and the changing world. Religion could have its influence on the nature of political and social change.

Lagrée's work was unusual in that he examined a region, five departments in administrative terms and five dioceses in religious organisation. He studied newspapers as well as archives. The persistence of collective memory (prior to 1914 the national 14 July celebrations were marked in some parts of western France by people keeping the shutters of their houses closed), the importance of certain priests in their localities during the 1920s, the strengths and weaknesses of group religion, all these are issues of the widest interest for cultural historians.

Lagrée was active in local politics and trade-union activities. He was one of the editors of the Presses Universitaires de Rennes, and a practising Catholic; shortly before his death he was awarded the Papal Medal of St Gregory. But he never forgot that his father had been a teacher in a state school.

Douglas Johnson

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
Sainsbury's could roll the lorries out across its whole fleet if they are successful
tech
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
Ojo Onaolapo celebrates winning the bronze medal
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
musicLed Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmHe was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
Arts and Entertainment
'Old Fashioned' will be a different kind of love story to '50 Shades'
film
Life and Style
fashionHealth concerns and 'pornified' perceptions have made women more conscious at the beach
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' is returning to the Tate more than 15 years after it first caused shockwaves at the gallery
artTracey Emin's bed returns to the Tate after record sale
Arts and Entertainment
Smart mover: Peter Bazalgette
filmHow live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences
Environment
Neil Young performing at Hyde Park, London, earlier this month
environment
News
i100
News
Prince Harry is clearing enjoying the Commonwealth Games judging by this photo
people(a real one this time)
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Project Coordinator

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: The Organisation: The Green Recrui...

Project Manager (HR)- Bristol - Upto £400 p/day

£350 - £400 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...

Embedded Linux Engineer

£40000 - £50000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Embedded Sof...

Senior Hardware Design Engineer - Broadcast

£50000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Working for a m...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz