Talking About Durkheim


Overall — Durkheim offers good example of a need for some theoretical humility and patience. Very easy to come up with cheap shots ("Completely insensitive in discussion of native American cultures!" — "Ultimately a conservative functionalist!"), but these no more interesting than those that would dismiss Marx because the revolution hasn't happened yet or because the Soviet Union did not function like clockwork.

Focus: what is the conceptual take-away — not because Durkheim said it, but because the ideas are useful.

Durkheim Émile. "Sociology and Social Facts" (78-81)

Question: what should sociology be a science of?
Social facts.

Durkheim Émile. "Anomie and the Modern Division of Labor" (77-78)

Organic and Mechanical Solidarity.

Durkheim Émile. "Suicide and Modernity" (81-89)

Question: Why do suicide rates vary?
Social integration matters. Humans as social — our "interior" and "individual" characteristics depend on our social connections.

Durkheim Émile. 1912. "The Cultural Logic of Collective Representations" (94-103)

Durkheim Émile. "Mechanical and Organic Solidarity" (73-77)

Durkheim Émile and Marcel Mauss. "Primitive Classifications and Social Knowledge" (89-94)

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