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Emile Durkin

Jun 16, 2008 663 Words
Extra Credit Question:

7. Select an important person within the history of social work and write about their life.

Emile Durkheim came from a long line of French Jews. At an early age, he decided not to follow in his family's rabbinical footsteps. Durkheim would lead a completely different life. Much of his work, in fact, was dedicated to religious phenomena from social factors. His Jewish background did shape his sociological perspective many of his students and were fellow Jews, and often relatives. As a student Durkheim entered the cole Normale Suprieure in 1879. The class that year was one of the most brilliant of the nineteenth century and many of his classmates would go on to become major figures in France's history. At the ENS, Durkheim studied with Numa Denis Fustel de Coulanges a classicist with a social scientific outlook. At the same time, he read Auguste Comte and Herbert Spencer. This made Durkheim interested in a scientific approach to society very early on in his career. Durkheim finished second to last in his graduating class. After spending a year studying sociology in Germany he traveled to Bordeaux in 1887.There he taught pedagogy and social science. From this Durkheim reformed the French school system and introduced the study of social science. In 1893 he published his dissertation entitled The Division of Labour in Society. In this work Durkheim examined how social order was in different types of societies. He focused on the Division of Labour , and examined how it was different from and . Authors before him such as Herbert Spencer Otto von Gierke or had argued that much like living moving from a simple state to a more complex one resembling the workings of complex machines. In 1895 he published his manifesto entitled Rules of the Sociological Method. In 1896 he wrote the journalL'Anne Sociologique in order to publicize this work to what was by then a growing number of students and collaborators he would have to write another book. Then finally, in 1897 he wrote and published a book entitled Suicide.

In 1902, Durkheim finally achieved his goal of attaining a prominent position in Paris when he became the chair of education at the Sorbonne. Because French Universities are made for training Secondary school teachers this gave Durkheim considerable influence. His lectures were the only ones that were mandatory for the entire student body. Despite what some thought the ending of the Dreyfus affair was to be a political meeting. Durkheim had consolidated his power by 1912 and he was permanently given the chair and he renamed it the chair of education and sociology. It was also in this year that he published his last major paper entitled Elementary forms of religious life. World War 1 had a tragic effect on Durkheim's life. Durkheim's own son died in the war a mental blow from which Durkheim never recovered. Emotionally devastated and overworked, Durkheim collapsed from a stroke in Paris in 1917 .He recovered over several months and resumed work on La Morale . He died at the age of 59 from exhaustion.

Monsieur Durkheim has proven to me that he was definitely one of the founding fathers of Sociology. He was very opinionated and very outspoken. I believe that if he had not started this study, sociology would not be as prominent as it is now. He is a great inspiration because he went out and created something new for everyone to learn. He had a significant part in creating this study. I believe sociology is very important because it teaches us so much about ourselves and the people around us. We need this study if we are ever to learn about sociological behavior and understand what it means to the world. So lets all embrace this study so we can better understand our self an the world around us because we are all different and there is so much to learn about each other.

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