Émile Durkheim

French sociologist (1858-1917)

1858   -   1917

country of citizenship: Second French Empire, French Third Republic
educated at: École Normale Supérieure, Lycée Louis-le-Grand, Leipzig University
occupation: anthropologist, philosopher, sociologist, professor
student of: Numa Denis Fustel de Coulanges, Wilhelm Wundt
influenced by: Louis Gabriel Ambroise de Bonald, Auguste Comte, Herbert Spencer, Montesquieu

David Émile Durkheim (French: [emil dyʁkɛm] or [dyʁkajm]; 15 April 1858 – 15 November 1917) was a French sociologist. He formally established the academic discipline and—with W. E. B. Du Bois, Karl Marx and Max Weber—is commonly cited as the principal architect of modern social science.Much of Durkheim's work was concerned with how societies could maintain their integrity and coherence in modernity, an era in which traditional social and religious ties are no longer assumed, and in which new social institutions have come into being. His first major sociological work was The Division of Labour in Society (1893). In 1895, he published The Rules of Sociological Method and set up the first European department of sociology, becoming France's first professor of sociology. In 1898, he established the journal L'Année Sociologique. Durkheim's seminal monograph, Suicide (1897), a study of suicide rates in Catholic and Protestant populations, pioneered modern social research and served to distinguish social science from psychology and political philosophy. The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life (1912) presented a theory of religion, comparing the social and cultural lives of aboriginal and modern societies. Durkheim was also deeply preoccupied with the acceptance of sociology as a legitimate science. He refined the positivism originally set forth by Auguste Comte, promoting what could be considered as a form of epistemological realism, as well as the use of the hypothetico-deductive model in social science. For him, sociology was the science of institutions, if this term is understood in its broader meaning as "beliefs and modes of behaviour instituted by the collectivity" and its aim being to discover structural social facts. Durkheim was a major proponent of structural functionalism, a foundational perspective in both sociology and anthropology. In his view, social science should be purely holistic; that is, sociology should study phenomena attributed to society at large, rather than being limited to the specific actions of individuals. He remained a dominant force in French intellectual life until his death in 1917, presenting numerous lectures and published works on a variety of topics, including the sociology of knowledge, morality, social stratification, religion, law, education, and deviance. Durkheimian terms such as "collective consciousness" have since entered the popular lexicon.
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book by Émile Durkheim published in 1897

author: Émile Durkheim

The Division of Labour in Society

book by Émile Durkheim

author: Émile Durkheim


L'Évolution pédagogique en France

book by Émile Durkheim

author: Émile Durkheim


  • De la division du travail social

    edition of: The Division of Labour in Society
    author: Émile Durkheim
    edition language: French
    publisher: Jean-Marie Tremblay
    P195: Les Classiques des sciences sociales
    date of publication: 2002

    ISBN-13: 978-1-55441-144-3
    ISBN-10: 1-55441-144-0
  • Le contrat social de Rousseau

    author: Émile Durkheim



    Pacifisme et patriotisme ( 1907 )

    scientific article (publication date: 30 December 1907)

    author: Émile Durkheim

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