The epistemology of the didactics of languages-cultures,
a complex epistemology for a complex discipline
Epistemological questioning in a discipline is a sign of disciplinary maturity. The didactics of French as a foreign language has thus moved from (1) an initial perspective, until the 1960s, of a "methodological" type, in which "methodologists" thought they could find the right answers to the problems they had identified; (2) to a "didactic" or meta-methodological perspective, in the 1970s, in which methodological problems become problematic because "didacticians" have become aware that the answers can only be contextual, i.e., plural, local, partial and temporary; (3) finally, in the 1980s, to the "didactological" or meta-didactic perspective, in which didacticians question their own discipline from the ideological, ethical or, as the coordinators of this book invite, epistemological point of view. After presenting the main characteristics of an epistemology adapted to the didactics of languages and cultures, i.e., a complex one, and its consequences for teacher training and teaching-learning practices, the author shows that they are particularly interesting in the didactics of languages for specific purposes, because they make it possible to allow the language class to function as an incubator of professional skills.