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Durkheim, the ‘founding father’ of sociology

Emile_Durkheim

 

“…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. Along with Karl Marx and Max Weber, he formally established the academic discipline and and is commonly cited as the principal architect of modern social science and father of sociology.

 


Access the top articles from our journal Durkheimian Studies/Études Durkheimiennes for FREE until April 22!

 


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

 

In Paperback

DURKHEIM, THE DURKHEIMIANS, AND THE ARTS
Edited by Alexander Tristan Riley, W.S.F. Pickering†, and William Watts Miller
Published in Association with the Durkheim Press

 

“The strengths of the book are the featuring of the diversity of the [Durkheim] tradition and the many lines linking broadly Durkheimian themes to current work on the arts… [It] illustrates powerfully how Durkheimian concepts live with us today and how we can benefit by comparisons with this rich tradition. Read and be inspired.” · American Journal of Sociology

Using a broad definition of the Durkheimian tradition, this book offers the first systematic attempt to explore the Durkheimians’ engagement with art. It focuses on both Durkheim and his contemporaries as well as later thinkers influenced by his work. The first five chapters consider Durkheim’s own exploration of art; the remaining six look at other Durkheimian thinkers, including Marcel Mauss, Henri Hubert, Maurice Halbwachs, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Michel Leiris, and Georges Bataille. The contributors—scholars from a range of theoretical orientations and disciplinary perspectives—are known for having already produced significant contributions to the study of Durkheim. This book will interest not only scholars of Durkheim and his tradition but also those concerned with aesthetic theory and the sociology and history of art.

Read Introduction

Please visit additional blog post where Alexander Tristan Riley shares what brought him to the study of Durkheim, a prediction of the collection’s reception, and what he would ask the philosopher if given the chance.

 

In Paperback

DURKHEIM IN DIALOGUE
A Centenary Celebration of The Elementary Forms of Religious Life
Edited by Sondra L. Hausner

Volume 27, Methodology & History in Anthropology

 

“The volume conveys the potential of Elementary Forms to inspire new areas of research in the field of cognitive studies and of collective processes and rituals more specifically. As the contributors suggest, there is much to explore in contemporary phenomena by wary of Durkheim’s original approach to the study of religion.” · Durkheimian Studies/Etudes Durkheimiennes

One hundred years after the publication of the great sociological treatise, The Elementary Forms of Religious Life, this new volume shows how aptly Durkheim¹s theories still resonate with the study of contemporary and historical religious societies. The volume applies the Durkheimian model to multiple cases, probing its resilience, wondering where it might be tweaked, and asking which aspects have best stood the test of time. A dialogue between theory and ethnography, this book shows how Durkheimian sociology has become a mainstay of social thought and theory, pointing to multiple ways in which Durkheim¹s work on religion remains relevant to our thinking about culture.

Read Introduction: Durkheim in Disciplinary Dialogue

 

In Paperback

A DURKHEIMIAN QUEST
Solidarity and the Sacred
William Watts Miller

 

“Watts Miller provides a meticulous, conscientious, and unpretentious reading of Durkheim, rooted in deep acquaintance not only with his unpublished lectures but also with the writing of his contemporaries…The strength of Watts Miller’s book is that it harks back to a Durkheim of complexity and rich ambiguity.” · Choice

Durkheim, in his very role as a ‘founding father’ of a new social science, sociology, has become like a figure in an old religious painting, enshrouded in myth and encrusted in layers of thick, impenetrable varnish. This book undertakes detailed, up-to-date investigations of Durkheim’s work in an effort to restore its freshness and reveal it as originally created. These investigations explore his particular ideas, within an overall narrative of his initial problematic search for solidarity, how it became a quest for the sacred and how, at the end of his life, he embarked on a project for a new great work on ethics. A theme running through this is his concern with a modern world in crisis and his hope in social and moral reform. Accordingly, the book concludes with a set of essays on modern times and on a crisis that Durkheim thought would pass but which now seems here to stay.

 

New in Paperback

SUFFERING AND EVIL
The Durkheimian Legacy
Edited by W. S. F. Pickering and Massimo Rosati†
Published in Association with the Durkheim Press

 

“…an impressive collection that makes a strong contribution to sociological theory and Durkheimian scholarship. Its particular strength is how it makes available the robustness and enduring importance of Durkheim’s rich conceptual lexicon… Theoretically sophisticates, yet relatively accessible, this volume is particularly appropriate for inclusion in advanced undergraduate theory courses or graduate level seminars.” · Canadian Journal of Sociology/Cahiers canadiens de sociologie

Until recently the subject of suffering and evil was neglected in the sociological world and was almost absent in Durkheimian studies as well. This book aims to fill the gap, with particular reference to the Durkheimian tradition, by exploring the different meanings that the concepts of evil and suffering have in Durkheim’s works, together with the general role they play in his sociology. It also examines the meanings and roles of these concepts in relation to suffering and evil in the work of other authors within the group of the Année sociologique up until the beginning of World War II. Finally, the Durkheimian legacy in its wider aspects is assessed, with particular reference to the importance of the Durkheimian categories in understanding and conceptualizing contemporary forms of evil and suffering.

 

DURKHEIM TODAY
Edited by W. S. F. Pickering
With an introduction by Kenneth Thompson
Published by Durkheim Press

 

Taken as a whole, the collection provides a useful grounding in contemporary Durkheimian studies.” · Choice

There has been a growing interest in Durkheim, founding father of sociology, since the 1970s. This volume takes a look at the current stage of Durkheimian studies, pointing out paths scholars are now following as they examine the various themes of study that Durkheim opened up to the academic world. They clearly demonstrate the continuing importance of Durkheim’s works and the benefits to be derived from re-reading them in the light of contemporary social developments.

 

 

DURKHEIM AND FOUCAULT
Perspectives on Education and Punishment
Edited by Mark S. Cladis

 

Education and punishment are two crucial sites of the “disciplinary society,” approached by Durkheim and Foucault from different perspectives, but also in a shared concern with what kind of society might constitute an “emancipatory” alternative. This collection of essays explores the issues that are involved and that are illuminated through a comparison and contrast of two social theorists who at first sight might seem an “unlikely couple” – Durkheim and Foucault.

 

 

 

In Paperback

GODLESS INTELLECTUALS?
The Intellectual Pursuit of the Sacred Reinvented
Alexander Tristan Riley

 

“…offers readers a tour of twentieth-century French intellectual 10 history by one of the finest Durkheimian scholars writing today. At the heart of the book is Durkheim’s concept of the sacred. Yet despite the seemingly familiar starting point, Riley’s book sparkles with creative 15 ideas, intriguing concepts, and introductions to a broad class of characters… part of the book’s (mystic) charm is its comprehensive and suggestive nature.” · Sociology of Religion: A Quarterly Review

The Durkheimians have traditionally been understood as positivist, secular thinkers, fully within the Enlightenment project of limitless reason and progress. In a radical revision of this view, this book persuasively argues that the core members of the Durkheimian circle (Durkheim himself, Marcel Mauss, Henri Hubert and Robert Hertz) are significantly more complicated than this. Through his extensive analysis of large volumes of correspondence as well as historical and macro-sociological mappings of the intellectual and social worlds in which the Durkheimian project emerged, the author shows the Durkheimian project to have constituted a quasi-religious quest in ways much deeper than most interpreters have thought. Their fascination, both personal and intellectual, with the sacred is the basis on which the author reconstructs some important components of modern French intellectual history, connecting Durkheimian thought to key representatives of French poststructuralism and postmodernism: Bataille, Foucault, Derrida, Baudrillard, and Deleuze.


Related Link: Other publications from Durkheim Press


BERGHAHN JOURNALS:

 

Durkheimian Studies
Études Durkheimiennes

Editor: W. Watts Miller

Durkheimian Studies is available online.

Durkheimian Studies / Études Durkheimiennes is the scholarly journal of the British Centre for Durkheimian Studies. It is concerned with all aspects of the work of Durkheim and his group, such as Marcel Mauss and Robert Hertz, and with the contemporary development and application of their ideas to issues in the social sciences, religion and philosophy. The journal is unique in often featuring first-time or new English translations of their French works otherwise not available to English-language scholars.

 

 

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