Emile Durkheim, 1858-1917: A Collection of Essays, with Translations and a Bibliography

By Emile Durkheim; Kurt H. Wolff | Go to book overview

PREFACE

The essays collected in this commemorative volume fall easily into five groups. The first consists of three papers, those by Henri Peyre, Albert Salomon, and Paul Honigsheim, which present the historical, political, and intellectual setting in which Durkheim the scholar and citizen lived; some aspects of his lasting legacy, notably the work of Marcel Mauss and Maurice Halbwachs; and an inventory of the scholarship in the history, sociology, and psychology of religion that he has stimulated. The three analyses by Joseph Neyer, Melvin Richter, and Lewis A. Coser, are, when compared to the first group, more analytical than descriptive; they deal with some of Durkheim's central moral and political concerns. Albert Pierce's and Paul Bohannan's contributions connect Durkheim with more specific problems in social science: Pierce discusses Durkheim and "functionalism"; and Bohannan, the relation (a progression or a regression) between Durkheim's notion of the conscience collective and the current anthropological one of culture. The similarity between another pair of papers--Talcott Parsons' on the integration of social systems and Hugh Dalziel Duncan's on ritual --consists in the fact that the author of each uses Durkheim as a point of departure in the development of his own ideas. The feature common to the contributions by Roscoe C. Hinkle, Jr., and Kazuta Kurauchi is their concern with the reception accorded Durkheim's work in two countries other than his own, the United States and Japan. The collection of analyses concludes with Paul Honigsheim's personal reminiscences of some outstanding members of the Durkheim school.

This quick survey of the first part of the book may suggest-- though, of course, much less vividly than a reading of the analyses themselves--the widely diversified but always concrete and specific relevance of Durkheim and his work. Durkheim's human and moral appeal, for instance, is clearly apparent in the papers--otherwise so different--of Peyre, Salomon, Neyer, and Richter, and in Honigsheim's reminiscences. And his politi-

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