Las Règles de la méthode sociologique
IN De le division du travail social as in Le Suicide and Les Formes élémentaires de la vie religieuse, Durkheim's development is the same: at the outset, definition of the phenomenon; next, refutation of previous interpretations; and finally, a sociological explanation of the phenomenon in question.
The similarity goes even further. In all three books the interpretations that Durkheim refutes have the same characteristic: they are all individualist and, so to speak, rationalizing interpretations such as are found in the economic sciences. In De la division du travail social Durkheim dismisses the interpretation of progress toward differentiation through mechanisms of individual psychology; he shows that social differentiation cannot be explained in terms of the striving for an increased productivity, the pursuit of pleasure or happiness, or the effort to overcome ennui. In Le Suicide the explanation of suicide which he dismisses is the individualist and psychological explanation of madness or alcohol. Finally, in Les Formes élémentaires de la vie religieuse the interpretations he refutes are those of animism and naturism, which are also essentially individualist and psychological.
In all three cases the explanation at which Durkheim arrives is essentially sociological, although the word may have a slightly dif