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Émile Durkheim
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"Durkheim" redirects here. For the main-belt asteroid, see 10330 Durkheim. Émile Durkheim

French sociologist

BornApril 15, 1858
Épinal, France

DiedNovember 15, 1917 (aged 59)
Paris, France

David Émile Durkheim (French pronunciation: [emil dyʁkɛm]) (April 15, 1858 – November 15, 1917) was a French sociologist. He formally established the academic discipline and, with Karl Marx and Max Weber, is commonly cited as the principal architect of modern social science.[1] Durkheim set up the first European department of sociology at the University of Bordeaux in 1895, publishing his Rules of the Sociological Method. In 1896, he established the journal L'Année Sociologique. Durkheim's seminal monograph, Suicide (1897), a study of suicide rates amongst Catholic and Protestant populations, pioneered modern social research and served to distinguish social science from psychology or political philosophy.[2] Durkheim refined the positivism originally set forth by Auguste Comte, promoting epistemological realism and the hypothetico-deductive model. For him, sociology was the science of institutions, its aim being to discover structural "social facts": "A social fact is every way of acting, fixed or not, capable of exercising on the individual an external constraint; or again, every way of acting which is general throughout a given society, while at the same time existing in its own right independent of its individual manifestations."[3] Durkheim acknowledged the limitations of sociology, noting the necessity in social science to form theoretical concepts in the abstract: "Science cannot describe individuals, but only types. If human societies cannot be classified, they must remain inaccessible to scientific description."[4] Durkheim was a major proponent of structural functionalism, a foundational perspective in both sociology and anthropology.[5][6] 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 social stratification, religion, law, education, and deviance. Marcel Mauss, a notable social anthropologist of the pre-war era, was his nephew. Durkheimian terms such as "collective conscience" have since entered the popular discourse.[7] Contents

[hide]
1 Biography
o1.1 Childhood and education
o1.2 Academic career
2 Theories and ideas
o2.1 Theoretical foundations of sociology
o2.2 Social facts
o2.3 Method and objectivity
3 Sociological studies
o3.1 Education
o3.2 Crime
o3.3 Law
o3.4 Suicide
o3.5 Religion
4 See also
5 Selected works
6 References
7 Further reading
8 External links

[edit] Biography
[edit] Childhood and education
Durkheim was born in Épinal in Lorraine, coming from a long line of devout French Jews; his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather had been rabbis.[8] At an early age, he decided not to follow in his family's rabbinical footsteps.[8] Durkheim himself would lead a completely secular life. Much of his work was dedicated to demonstrating that religious phenomena stemmed from social rather than divine factors. While Durkheim chose not to follow in the family tradition, he did not sever ties with his family or with the Jewish community.[8] Many of his most prominent collaborators and students were Jewish, and some were blood relations. The exact influence of Jewish thought on Durkheim's work remains uncertain; some scholars have argued that Durkheim's thought is a form of secularized Jewish thought,[9][10] while others argue that proving the existence of a direct influence of Jewish thought on Durkheim's achievements is difficult or impossible.[11] A precocious student, Durkheim entered the École Normale Supérieure (ENS) in 1879.[12] The entering class that year was one of the most brilliant of the nineteenth century and many of his classmates, such as Jean Jaurès and Henri Bergson...
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