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The article proposes a compared and critical analysis of different acceptations of the notions of game and of network in N. Élias's thought, in order to show that a triple research program structures their relation. Defined as the very object of sociology, network partakes - first through the heuristically fertile means of the image of games - in the building of an alternative paradigm to the holistic and individualistic options. Secondly, on a methodological level, the game stands as a formalization model of social situations from different types of constraints acting in interdependence networks. Finally, the game is inscribed as an instrument of diagnosis and control in the purpose that Élias sets for the sociological enterprise : to master the complexity of networks specific to the civilization in order to get free from the dangers generated by a lack of knowledge of their organization, as shown by the example of international relations.

Éric Letonturier
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