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Introduction The first edition EmileDurkheim'sThedivision labour society:study of of in a of theorganizationthehigher of societies publishedin I893 while the authorwas was professor socialscience theUniversity Bordeaux. constituted majorof of at of It the the two theses whichhe presented the University Parisforhis doctorate. at of Durkheim had previously published several reviews and articles, thiswas his but first book. He gainedhisdoctorate hisbook madea significant and for impact, it so annoyedthe orthodoxeconomists thatforsome timehe could not obtaina teaching inParis(Mauss I958: 2). The book wentto fiveFrench post the editions, onlyworkby Durkheim do so, and was first to in translation published an English in I933. It has been described its translator Durkheim'sgreatest work by as (SimpsonI933: 4). Yet despite theseindications importance, of some critics have seen littlevalue in the book. Thus, in his History ethnological of where theory, he devotes fifteen pagesto Durkheim, Lowie has absolutely to nothing sayabout theDivision labour. translation English of Its into was greeted thepagesof the in American journal sociology thecomment: of with Published whentheauthor thirty-five old,theworkaccepts accurate was years as the crude misconceptions i88o'sconcerning life primitive asset ofthe the of man forth the in books those were more of who no competentdescribe than botanist to them a would to be a in write treatise hisfield without having a plant.... ever seen Nottobesevere awriter forty-one ago,accepted isnowknown be with who, to years what it untenable, wouldat leastseemthatextended discussion an argument of basedon abandoned premises might considered unnecessary be an expenditure energy of (Faris I934: 376).
The English translationpoor. The development socialconditions, well as is of as thefindings scientific of research, during seventy the yearsthathave elapsedsince theworkwas first published havecumulatively demonstrated falsity manyof the of its substantive propositions. thenwe are to understand what contextthe If in Division labour still interest, haveto look elsewhere is of of we thanat introductory courses occupational on specialisation, socialevolution, thechanging or or patterns of legal organisation, any otherof thevariousthemes or discussed thebook. in We need,however, onlytothevery go first in sentence thebooktofind answer: the 'This book is pre-eminently attempt treat facts themorallifeaccording an to the of to themethod thepositive of sciences' (DOLl 32). Here we have a clear statement Durkheim'sprogramme, programme of a worked in subsequent out publications whichremained far and not from centre the of his intellectual goal throughout life.In thisbook we can easilysee the his fromwhichhis laterstudies suicide,education, on beginnings law...