Emile Durkheim's Sociological Theory
Topics: Sociology, Crime, Criminology, Morality, Ethics, Religion / Pages: 4 (790 words) / Published: Apr 17th, 2016

At the beginning of the modern era Emile Durkheim sought to prove the integrity of society as the rule of religion came to pass, and as new social institutions began to shape with the fast approaching 1900’s. Durkheim delved into the works of Montesquieu and Spencer, whom he believed both generalized their theories. His followers included his nephew Mauss, Hubert, and Bougle theorized in both the micro and macro levels of sociology, something other traditions fail to do. Durkheim differed from his predecessors and other sociologists of his time because of the focus on external factors rather than those that may be internal. “The key to the scientific method is to compare, to look for the conditions under which something happens by contrasting …show more content…
Society is a system where branches are dependent on one another for stability, and some of these legs may include rituals, religion, economics, educational systems, and a family unity. Durkheim upheld the views that, “the currents of ideas and emotions that generated when people interact and that constrain individuals from the outside (Collins, 1994, p. 197).”
Another contributor of Durkheimian theory is Robert Merton, who expanded on the beliefs that Durkheim held on functions of society. Merton understood that to look at functional methods is to see what institutions contribute to uphold order in society. Furthermore, Merton developed the manifest and latent functions of society. Manifest functions are those that individuals knowingly try to achieve, while latent functions are produced by the actions of
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Durkheim upheld and expanded on the views of Fustel in his last writing The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life. Durkheim discussed his views of religions and how each has a sense of sacred and profane that impacts the morals and beliefs of societies, which also helps mold the collected social structure. These sacred and profane are ritualistic and bond people of society on a deeper sense of community. While profane can be considered any of the daily routines and boring tasks that people complete, sacred is more meaningful and draws beliefs and practices from religion to form rituals. An important key function of the belief of sacred and profane is the point of how this happens within social structures other than religion.
The Durkheimian Theory has what is referred to as “two wings” in sociology. One being the macro study and the other the micro study, of which Durkheim drew from both. The macro views of Durkheim’s theories were already in place, but were more expanded upon. Durkheim turned what was considered a merely macro level view of sociology into something with a micro component. The study of the rituals of individuals is a micro level study, something that focuses on the individual rather than the whole, while the macro focuses on large scale, such as societies and

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