Durkheim Today

Durkheim Today

Edited by W. S. F. Pickering
Introduction by Kenneth Thompson
Copyright Date: 2002
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 208
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  • Book Info
    Durkheim Today
    Book Description:

    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.

    eISBN: 978-1-78238-629-2
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Contributors
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Preface
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Referencing
    (pp. xi-xi)
  6. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xii-xii)
  7. Introduction
    (pp. 1-8)
    Kenneth Thompson

    In order to build on the foundations laid by Durkheim it is first necessary to gain an accurate appreciation of his works and those of his collaborators. Such has been the principal aim of the British Centre for Durkheimian Studies, as exemplified in this volume. Through their research, conferences and publications, scholars associated with the Centre have considerably advanced understanding of Durkheimian sociology. One of the guiding principles in the execution of their task has been to place Durkheim’s thought in the social and intellectual context of his time. In some cases this has meant elucidating the philosophical roots of...

  8. Chapter 1 Durkheim: the man himself and his heritage
    (pp. 9-16)
    W. S. F. Pickering

    After Durkheim died in 1917 his disciples, particularly Marcel Mauss and Paul Fauconnet, set about making his academic work more widely known and hopefully, better appreciated. They did so by publishing some of his lectures, various manuscripts, and reproducing in book-form articles published earlier in journals, both popular and less well-known. One can point to six or more posthumous books whose publication further established Durkheim as the late nineteenth-century pioneer and grand master of French sociology (see references to these books and articles in Lukes 1973:586–90). But very little was or could be published about his life. The reason...

  9. Chapter 2 General sociology
    (pp. 17-28)
    Mike Gane

    Durkheim tried to establish the field and method of sociology in a series of investigations from the mid-1880s till his death in 1917. It is clear that he sought to pull together diverse studies that were already in train into the new domain of social science, as well as to initiate new studies from a base in that domain. Both of these efforts involved the elaboration of a complex and viable project which would be sophisticated enough to establish an intellectual division of labour against the spontaneous drift of scholarship inspired by individual ambition alone. The objective would be to...

  10. Chapter 3 Religion
    (pp. 29-38)
    W. S. F. Pickering

    Today, when traditional religion and indeed religious life in general finds only a limited place in western society and in other societies influenced by it, it seems strange to find that the section here on religion has such a prominent position. And all the more so since the author in question was of Jewish background, the son of a rabbi and who abandoned all religious belief at the age of late adolescence. He became a thoroughly convinced rationalist-humanist, almost an atheist (see Pickering 1984:5–13). Yet the fact remains that Durkheim gave religion a prominent place in his attempt to...

  11. Chapter 4 Epistemology and philosophy of science
    (pp. 39-54)
    Warren Schmaus

    Today, philosophers look upon epistemology and the philosophy of science as closely related disciplines that are both concerned with questions about the justification of knowledge claims. Durkheim, however, appears to have regarded them as distinct. In his lectures on philosophy given towards the beginning of his career at the Lycée de Sens (1996a), he treated philosophy of science, or ‘methodology’ as he called it, as a part of applied logic. Epistemology or theory of knowledge, on the other hand, was considered under the rubric of ‘psychology’. French academic philosophy at that time followed the Cartesian tradition of beginning with an...

  12. Chapter 5 Morality and ethics
    (pp. 55-68)
    W. Watts Miller

    Durkheim’s work on morality is complex, many sided and an integral part of his work as a whole. It is open to a number of interpretations, has roots in a spread of influences and can be taken up and developed in a variety of ways. Trying to put together an overall account is a formidable task, even with the space available in a book (or at least this was so in writingDurkheim, Morals and Modernity(Watts Miller 1996)). Yet it is important that there are attempts at a general picture, especially within the limits and economy of an article....

  13. Chapter 6 Political sociology
    (pp. 69-80)
    Josep R. Llobera

    As a result of the work of Giddens (1972) and Lacroix (1981), as well as that of others, it has become a well-known fact that neither in the writings of Durkheim nor inL’Année sociologiquecan we find a clear sociological category that can be labelled ‘political sociology’ or even politics. However, it is also true that Durkheim dealt with a number of topics that fall within what t oday would be called political sociology. It is also suggested that when dealing with political issues Durkheim’s approach was more normative than sociological.

    Why is there no place in Durkheim’s writings...

  14. Chapter 7 Suicide and anomie
    (pp. 81-86)
    Philippe Besnard

    ‘Suicide’ and ‘anomie’ – here we have two stimuli which immediately conjure up the Durkheimian heritage for any sociologist or student of sociology. The combination of the two stimuli, ‘Suicide’ and ‘anomie’, seems very banal today, simply because the Durkheimian theory of anomie has been particularly developed inLe Suicide(1897a). Many scholarly interpretations of this book have a mistaken tendency to see anomie as ‘the cause of suicide’ by confusing egoistic suicide with anomic suicide, or actually by making anomie a generic idea embracing diverse social pathologies. It has not always been so. For a long time interpretations, discussions...

  15. Chapter 8 Division of labour and economics
    (pp. 87-104)
    Philippe Steiner

    De la Division du travail socialwas Durkheim’s main doctoral thesis and first book and is seminal (1893b). This is particularly true when the connections between political economy and sociology are the focus of enquiry. Two dimensions will be considered in this chapter. First, we shall give a brief overview of Durkheim’s position on political economy and his legacy to economic sociology. Second, as the division of labour is closely connected to exchange and contract, political economy and law we shall point to two facets of any such sociological enquiry. It is still worth considering the strength and weaknesses of...

  16. Chapter 9 Education
    (pp. 105-116)
    Geoffrey Walford

    In 1977 Jerome Karabel and A. H. Halsey published their highly authoritative edited collection of articles,Power and Ideology of Education. This text was designed to delineate for the late 1970s and 1980s the scope and achievements of sociology of education in Britain and the United States in a similar way as Halsey, Floud and Anderson’s (1961) previous collectionEducation, Economy and Societyhad done for the 1960s. It did so with great success and the book became an essential text for any student taking sociology of education courses in either country.

    Following a long introductory review which summarized and...

  17. Chapter 10 Reflections on the interpretation of Durkheim in the sociological tradition
    (pp. 117-142)
    Sue Stedman Jones

    Recognition of the foundational importance of Durkheim’s work for each of the areas of social life which have just been considered, has been marred by the understanding, or perhaps misunderstanding, of his general theory. Whilst the importance of Durkheim as the founder of sociology as a rigorous scientific discipline with a uniquesui generissubject matter – society – is beyond doubt, he has, however, been subject to almost constant critical theoretical attack from the very early days in sociology. Steven Lukes has shown the confusing range of accusations made against him: materialist and idealist, positivist and metaphysician, rationalist and...

  18. Index
    (pp. 143-148)