Durkheim: Modernity and Community


Modern Social Theory - Lecture 6

Lecturer: Prof John Holmwood

Nov. 23, 2021


David Émile Durkheim was born at Épinal in the Vosges Department of the Alsace region of France in 1858. He came from a Jewish family in which eight generations had been Rabbis, including his father, Moïse. The Vosges Department was not part of the territory annexed by Germany following Frances’ defeat in the Franco-Prussian war, but it was occupied by German troops between 1870 and 1873, after which they withdrew. Durkheim was immersed in Jewish traditions and, despite describing himself as agnostic, continued to recognise the Jewish calendar of holy days and to travel back to Épinal to celebrate them with other family members. Despite their German origins, the Durkheim family identified strongly as both French and as Jewish. His only son, André, died in the First World War in the autumn of 1915. Durkheim died in 1917.

Reading

  • Bhambra, Gurminder K. and John Holmwood 2021. ‘Durkheim: Modernity and Community’ in Colonialism and Modern Social Theory. Cambridge: Polity.
  • Durkheim, Émile 1957 [1890-1900]. Professional Ethics and Civic Morals. Translated by Cornelia Brookfield. London: Routledge.
  • Durkheim, Émile 1969 [1898]. ‘Individualism and the Intellectuals’ in Steven Lukes ` ‘Durkheim’s “Individualism and the Intellectuals”’ Political Studies 17 (1): 14-30.
  • Durkheim, Émile 1995 [1912]. The Elementary Forms of Religious Life. Translated by Karen E. Fields. New York: Free Press.
  • Durkheim, Émile. 2013 [1894]. The Division of Labour in Society. Translated by W. D. Halls, edited by Steven Lukes, second edition. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Fields, Karen E. 1995. ‘Translator’s Introduction: Religion as an Eminently Social Thing’ in Emile Durkheim 1995 [1912]. The Elementary Forms of Religious Life. Translated by Karen E. Fields. New York: Free Press.
  • Fields, Karen E. 2012. ‘Individuality and the Intellectuals: An Imaginary Conversation between Emile Durkheim and W. E. B. Du Bois’ in Karen E Fields and Barbara J Fields Racecraft: The Soul of Inequality in American Life. London: Verso.
  • Kurasawa, Fuyuki 2013. ‘The Durkheimian School and Colonialism: Exploring the Constitutive Paradox’ in George Steinmetz (ed.) Sociology and Empire: The Imperial Entanglements of a Discipline. Durham: Duke University Press.
  • Lehmann, Jennifer M. 1994. Durkheim and Women. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.
  • Strenski, Ivan 2006. ‘A Durkheimean Text in Turkey: Zia Gökalp Hüseyin Nail Kubali and Muslim Civil Society’ in The New Durkheim. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.

David Émile Durkheim was born at Épinal in the Vosges Department of the Alsace region of France in 1858. He came from a Jewish family in which eight generations had been Rabbis, including his father, Moïse.

The Vosges Department was not part of the territory annexed by Germany following Frances’ defeat in the Franco-Prussian war, but it was occupied by German troops between 1870 and 1873, after which they withdrew.

Durkheim was immersed in Jewish traditions and, despite describing himself as agnostic, continued to recognise the Jewish calendar of holy days and to travel back to Épinal to celebrate them with other family members.

Despite their German origins, the Durkheim family identified strongly as both French and as Jewish. His only son, André, died in the First World War in the autumn of 1915. Durkheim died in 1917.

Reading

  • Bhambra, Gurminder K. and John Holmwood 2021. ‘Durkheim: Modernity and Community’ in Colonialism and Modern Social Theory. Cambridge: Polity.
  • Durkheim, Émile 1957 [1890-1900]. Professional Ethics and Civic Morals. Translated by Cornelia Brookfield. London: Routledge.
  • Durkheim, Émile 1969 [1898]. ‘Individualism and the Intellectuals’ in Steven Lukes ` ‘Durkheim’s “Individualism and the Intellectuals”’ Political Studies 17 (1): 14-30.
  • Durkheim, Émile 1995 [1912]. The Elementary Forms of Religious Life. Translated by Karen E. Fields. New York: Free Press.
  • Durkheim, Émile. 2013 [1894]. The Division of Labour in Society. Translated by W. D. Halls, edited by Steven Lukes, second edition. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Fields, Karen E. 1995. ‘Translator’s Introduction: Religion as an Eminently Social Thing’ in Emile Durkheim 1995 [1912]. The Elementary Forms of Religious Life. Translated by Karen E. Fields. New York: Free Press.
  • Fields, Karen E. 2012. ‘Individuality and the Intellectuals: An Imaginary Conversation between Emile Durkheim and W. E. B. Du Bois’ in Karen E Fields and Barbara J Fields Racecraft: The Soul of Inequality in American Life. London: Verso.
  • Kurasawa, Fuyuki 2013. ‘The Durkheimian School and Colonialism: Exploring the Constitutive Paradox’ in George Steinmetz (ed.) Sociology and Empire: The Imperial Entanglements of a Discipline. Durham: Duke University Press.
  • Lehmann, Jennifer M. 1994. Durkheim and Women. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.
  • Strenski, Ivan 2006. ‘A Durkheimean Text in Turkey: Zia Gökalp Hüseyin Nail Kubali and Muslim Civil Society’ in The New Durkheim. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.