Emile Durkeim Essay

This essay has a total of 865 words and 4 pages.

Emile Durkeim



Emile Durkheim
Emile Durkheim was born in the eastern French province of Lorraine on April 15, 1858. He
was the s on of a rabbi and descending from a long line of rabbis, he decided early that
he would follow the family tradition and become a rabbi himself. He studied Hebrew, the
Old Testament, and the Talmud, while following the regular course of in secular schools.
He soon turned away from all religious involvement, though purposely not from interest in
religious phenomena, and became a freethinker, or non-believer. At about the time of his
graduation he decided that he would dedicate himself to the scientific study of society.
Since sociology was not a subject either at the secondary schools or at the university,
Durkheim launched a career as a teacher in philosophy. Emile Durkheim made many
contributions to the study of society, suicide, the division of labor, solidarity and
religion. Raised in a time of troubles in France, Durkheim spent much of his talent
justifying order and commitment to order. Durkheim was a pioneer French sociologist,
taught at Bordeaux (1887-1902) and the University of Paris (1902-17). He introduced the
system and hypothetical framework of accurate social science. Durkheim was author of The
Division of Labour (1893), Rules of Sociological Method (1895), Suicide (1897), Elementary
Forms of Religious Life (1915).


Emile Durkheim has often been characterized as the founder of professional sociology. He
has a great closeness with the two introductory sociologists, Comte and Saint-Simon.
Durkheim willingly noticed the ideas of the Division of Labor and the Biological Analogy.
Both ideas which had been differently well developed by Comte and Saint-Simon. Durkheimís
holism approach said that sociology should focus on and study large social operations and
cultures. He used functionalism, an approach of studying social and cultural phenomena as
a set of interdependent parts, to find out the roles these institutions and processes play
in keeping social order. Because of this importance in large social processes and
institutions, Durkheim's sociology can be described as macro-sociological as compared to a
micro-sociological, which takes itís starting point at the individual.


Durkheim's main purpose was to give sociology a professional and scientific standing like
other traditional social sciences. In order to do this, Durkheim argued that it was
essential to clearly state the domain or area of study for sociology. He said that
sociology's concern was with the social. This section of the social should be separated
from the area of psychological and the individual. If there was to be something called
sociology there should be a job just for sociology and sociologists. Durkheim said that
the social was an independent physical existence, called a society. Durkheim argued that
this society didnít depend on the plans and stimulation of individuals for its lasting
existence. Society was 'thing-like'. So the social or society had a life and logic of its
own. If this was the case then sociology had a purpose.
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