Durkheim, the ‘founding father’ of sociology

“…Solidarity is, literally something which the society possesses.”Émile Durkheim (April 15, 1858 – November 15, 1917)

David Émile Durkheim was a French sociologist, social psychologist and philosopher. He formally established the academic discipline and — with Karl Marx and Max Weber — is commonly cited as the principal architect of modern social science and father of sociology.


In honor, Berghahn Journals presents a special virtual issue which offers access to a selection of Émile Durkheim’s original works.
Click Here to Access the Special Virtual Issue!


Berghahn Books is also happy to invite you to browse some of the relevant titles:


New in Paperback

Solidarity and the Sacred
William Watts Miller

Continue reading

Tradition Taboo: Disagreements between Common Practice and Public Discourse

Hans Steinmüller’s Communities of Complicity: Everyday Ethics in Rural China is now available in paperback. The ethnography explores the moral uncertainties experienced by the people of the village of Zhongba in Central China as they navigate and balance the expectations of capitalism and their traditional culture. The author offers a reflection on his fieldwork in rural China and insights into Chinese culture in the following post.




The main idea of ‘Communities of Complicity’ has to do with the delicate relationship between vernacular practices and official discourse in rural China. In regards to geomancy (fengshui), rituals, gifting, and corruption discourse, for instance, official representations are often inconsistent with local practice. While it is very common to invite ritual masters for family celebrations and to give money gifts at such occasions, these practices are often described in public discourse as backwards and corrupt.

Continue reading

World Health Day

The World Health Day is a global health awareness day celebrated every year on 7 April, under the sponsorship of the World Health Organization (WHO). It provides an opportunity by the organization to draw worldwide attention to a subject of major importance to global health each year. This year WHO used World Health Day to highlight the challenges and opportunities associated with food safety.


Berghahn invites you to browse through its relevant series:


Food, Nutrition, and Culture Series

While eating is a biological necessity, the production, distribution, preparation, and consumption of food are all deeply culturally inscribed activities. Taking an anthropological perspective, this book series provides a forum for thought-provoking work on the bio-cultural, cultural, and social aspects of human nutrition and food habits. The books in this series present timely food-related scholarship intended for researchers, academics, students, and those involved in food policy.


Negotiating Anorexia
Richard A. O’ Connor and Penny van Esterik

Continue reading

Helping without Harming and Minding the Balance

Author Emma Kowal explores the “good” that well-meaning White Australians are doing for Indigenous Australians. This path to help is charted in Trapped in the Gap: Doing Good in Indigenous Australia, a recently published book that begs the question: How can one help without harming? Following, Kowal explains the origins and reception of her work studying this group of “White anti-racists.”




‘You’re an anthropologist and you study… White people?’ I regularly receive a puzzled look from people when I tell them what I do. Anthropologists are supposed to study Indigenous tribes in remote locations, aren’t they? Or at least something exciting, like drug addicts or slum dwellers.


Continue reading

Simulated Shelves: Browse March 2015 New Books


We are delighted to present a selection of our newly published March 2015 titles from our core subjects of Anthropology, Colonialism, Education, Global Health, History, Medical Anthropology, Politics, Theory & Methodology in Anthropology, and Urban Studies, along with a selection of our New in Paperback titles.


We are especially excited to announce the publication of the paperback edition of CIVILIZING NATURE edited by Bernhard Gissibl, Sabine Höhler and Patrick Kupper.

“This book makes a unique contribution to the conservation literature by enhancing one’s understanding and appreciation of the cultural meaning of nature conservation through the lens of national park development. […] Highly recommended.” · Choice




Cases of Local Activism and Environmental Innovation Around the World
Edited by Carol Hager and Mary Alice Haddad

Continue reading

Making-Over Northern Ireland by Changing Facades & Perceptions

Through art, architecture, and “symbolic landscapes,” post-conflict Northern Ireland is changing the “face” it shows the world. Bree T. Hocking explores this new identity in The Great Reimagining: Public Art, Urban Space, and the Symbolic Landscapes of a ‘New’ Northern Ireland. In the following short essay, the author explains some of actual and perceived changes, by way of the words exchanged with a young Protestant man.




On a recent visit to Northern Ireland, I met a young Protestant man from the Shankill Road heading home after dropping off his daughter at a nearby crèche. It was hardly an extraordinary encounter—save for the fact that the man had just left his toddler at a nursery on the Catholic side of one of Belfast’s largest and oldest peace walls. (These walls, sometimes up to eight metres tall, separate many working-class neighborhoods across the city along ethno-national lines.)

Continue reading

#MuseumWeek 2015

Museum Week is international: more than 800 museums, galleries and cultural institutions from across the UK, Europe, the Americas, Asia and Oceania — 29 countries in total — are officially participating in this, the first ever international Museum Week on twitter, March 23-29. ‪#‎MuseumWeek‬ 2015!

Happy Museum Week from Berghahn! Read a FREE virtual issue on Museums from Berghahn Journalshttp://bit.ly/P0ugcB  


Berghahn is delighted to present some of the latest Museum Studies titles:


Museums and Collections Series: This series explores the potential of museum collections to transform our knowledge of the world, and for exhibitions to influence the way in which we view and inhabit that world. It offers essential reading for those involved in all aspects of the museum sphere: curators, researchers, collectors, students and the visiting public.


Forthcoming! Volume 8

Issues of Participation, Sustainability, Trust and Diversity
Ana Luisa Sánchez Laws

Continue reading

Visions of The Other: Swiss & Malagasy See, But Do They Understand?

Where do Switzerland and Madagascar meet, and what do the people of each place think of those in the other? Eva Keller, in her recently published Beyond the Lens of Conservation: Malagasy and Swiss Imaginations of One Another, in seeking to connect these two places winds up highlighting the disconnect between them. Following, the author offers a brief glimpse into the volume from two directions: from a Swiss classroom looking at Madagascar and from a Malagasy man looking at a national park.





Read the following extract of a conversation which took place in a Swiss classroom with pupils aged between 11 and 12. My questions are in italics.



What do you know about Madagascar?


Takschan: I think there are cannibals there, I think, the people, like they eat the flesh.

Continue reading

Fertility, Reproduction and Sexuality

Today (March 18th) is Goddess of Fertility Day, a time when Aphrodite and other gods and goddesses of fertility are honored by pagans throughout the world in celebration of life and fertility.


Understanding the complex and multifaceted issue of human reproduction has been, and remains, of great interest both to academics and practitioners. Fertility, Reproduction and Sexuality series includes studies by specialists in the field of social, cultural, medical, and biological anthropology, medical demography, psychology, and development studies. Current debates and issues of global relevance on the changing dynamics of fertility, human reproduction and sexuality are addressed. Below is a selection of forthcoming & newly published titles within the series:


Volume 30 Forthcoming!

Gender, Culture and Assisted Reproduction
Andrea Whittaker


Continue reading

Roots and Recovery: Anthropologists Study Anorexia from all Angles

How do sufferers of anorexia recover? Richard A. O’Connor and Penny Van Esterik seek answers to this question, first by identifying root causes of the disease and then by sharing the stories of those who have made a full recovery.  From Virtue to Vice: Negotiating Anorexia, the book that resulted from their research, does not look at the affliction of anorexia from behind a glass, in fact, O’Connor’s connection to the work is deeply personal. He explains in his own words below.




Every book has a back story. Mine is no big secret. When my daughter Amorn became anorexic it turned our family upside down. Carolyn [my wife] and I desperately wanted answers. We got a great counselor but nothing worked. The explanations we got made no sense. That wasn’t our daughter. Of course we worried we were in denial—that we just didn’t want to face the truth—and that silenced me at the time. I understood clinicians have to put people in categories and few fit perfectly. So I settled into accepting my daughter was an exception, an outlier. What mattered most was working with her caregivers for recovery.


Continue reading