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

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

DURKHEIM'S POLITICS AND POLITICAL THEORY

MELVIN RICHTER

From an early date, Durkheim defined the scope of sociology broadly enough to include political theory.1 In his classification of societies by types, he gave an important place to their political institutions and legal systems. And here, as elsewhere in his "scientific ethics," description led to prescription. Thus in his Introduction to the second edition of the De la division du travail social and in the final chapter of Le suicide, called significantly "Practical Consequences," he stated what functions the state and organized occupational groups ought to perform in modern society.2 His advocacy of a syndicalism without violence as the cure for anomie and excessive egoism, along with his lectures on socialism, represented most of what was known about Durkheim's theory of the state until the publication in 1950 of Leçons de sociologie. This is a posthumous reconstruction of a course on the science of morals and law which Durkheim gave repeatedly at Bordeaux and Paris.3 Its importance to his system is described in his pivotal essay of 1906, "La détermination du fait moral."4 These lectures provide material for an analysis that up to now could only have been inferred, and this conjecturally, from his other works.

Durkheim's political theory would be worth study simply as the work of a powerful and original mind who influenced, in addition to his students, such thinkers as Jean Jaurès, Léon Duguit, and Georges Sorel.5 And although Durkheim's political thought is surely not his greatest intellectual achievement, neither is it merely a negligible by-product of his sociological analysis. Anyone who seeks to understand Durkheim's work on its own terms, or who would determine what is living and what is dead in that work today, will find it worth while to know just what he wrote about government and what its political significance was at the time he wrote it.

Georges Gurvitch has remarked that Durkheim made his greatest contributions to sociology in the same way Columbus

-170-

Notes for this page

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.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Emile Durkheim, 1858-1917: A Collection of Essays, with Translations and a Bibliography
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

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?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 466

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    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.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.