Durkheim Reconsidered. (Books Reviews: Theory)

By Llobera, Joseph R. | Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, September 2002 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Durkheim Reconsidered. (Books Reviews: Theory)


Llobera, Joseph R., Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute


STEDMAN JONES, SUSAN. Durkheim reconsidered. x, 274 pp., bibliogr. Cambridge: Polity, 2001. [pounds sterling]15.99 (paper)

Should anthropologists be reading and learning from Emile Durkheim or just consider him a 'dead duck' worth only a mention in passing? Will we shortly sec the process of his 'denaturation, forgetfulness and suppression', as Dominique Merllie has suggested in relation to Lucien Levy-Bruhl? Perhaps it would be fair to indicate that while in the past few decades, starting with the publication of Steve Lukes's intellectual biography of Durkheim, there has been a process of enrichment of Durkheim's contribution to the formation of the social sciences, most sociological and anthropological textbooks present rather simplistic and one-sided visions of him. Of the more outlandish visions of Durkheim, the one that suggests he can be presented as a post-modernist is by far the least defensible, and yet it seems to be quite appealing to some recent social thinkers.

The first thing that should be said about Durkheim reconsidered is that the author is obviously a profound connoisseur of Durkheim and someone who loves his writings. More important, and undoubtedly original, is the suggestion that Durkheim owed a lot of his thought to the ideas of the philosopher Renouvier. Controversial as it might be, Stedman Jones emphasizes the centrality of philosophy in his general approach, even if it is presented as sociology. Perhaps the crucial element is the close connection between philosophy and sociology in the Durkheimian intellectual project.

It is difficult to characterize the way in which the idea of scientific rationalism was central to Durkheim's approach. Stedman Jones rejects the vision, so popular among social scientists today, that Durkheim was a positivist in the Comtean sense of the term. Equally, she considers the idea of Durkheim being a conservative thinker and a theorist of order to be outrageous, because that would convert him into 'the most reflective and unphilosophical of thinkers'.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Durkheim Reconsidered. (Books Reviews: Theory)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?