Émile Durkheim

David Émile Durkheim (1858 - 1917)

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David Émile (Émile) Durkheim
Born in Épinal, Lorraine, Francemap
[sibling(s) unknown]
[spouse(s) unknown]
[children unknown]
Died in Paris, Francemap
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Profile last modified | Created 6 Oct 2015
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David Émile Durkheim is regarded as the principal architect of modern social science and father of sociology. Born into a family of a long line of rabbis, he broke away from the Jewish tradition and produced many secular works. His first major sociological work, ‘The Division of Labor in Society’, discussed how modern society is held together by a division of labor that makes individuals dependent upon one another. In ‘Rules of the Sociological Method’, he put forward the need for scientific approach in the study of sociology, a revolutionary thought in that period of time. He set up the first European department of sociology and became France's first professor of sociology and also established the journal L'Année Sociologique. His monograph ‘Suicide’, a study of suicide rates in Catholic and Protestant populations, elevated sociology to the status of science. In his ‘The Elementary Forms of Religious Life’, he presented a theory of religion, comparing the social and cultural lives of aboriginal and modern societies. He also expressed his views on individualism, differentiating between egoism and moral individualism. He remained a dominant force in French intellectual life until his death, presenting numerous lectures and published works on a variety of topics, including the sociology of knowledge, morality, religion, law, and education.

Childhood & Early Life

David Emile Durkheim was born on April 15, 1858, in Epinal, capital town of the department of Vosges, in Lorraine to Mélanie and Moïse, a rabbi of Epinal, and the Chief Rabbi of the Vosges and Haute-Marne. Expected to become a devout rabbi, he began his education in a rabbinical school, but at an early age, he decided not to follow in his family's rabbinical path, and changed schools.

He entered the École Normale Supérieure in 1879, at his third attempt and had as classmates brilliant people such as sociologist Jean Jaurès, philosopher Henri Bergson, historian Henri Berr and the psychologist Pierre Janet

At the Normale, he was guided by Numa Denis Fustel de Coulanges, a classicist with a social scientific outlook, and wrote his Latin dissertation on Montesquieu and read Auguste Comte and Herbert Spencer.



  1. http://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/mile-durkheim-5451.php#2WlKjoGQ1gWzbuUW.99

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Emile Durkheim
Emile Durkheim


On 27 Nov 2017 at 03:05 GMT Greg Lavoie wrote:

Currently, Émile Zola and Émile Durkheim have the same photo on WikiTree-needs to be sorted out.

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