Who was Émile Durkheim, and what did he do?
Émile Durkheim was a well-known French philosopher and sociologist dubbed the “Father of the French School of Sociology” for integrating empirical study with sociological theory. The following is a timeline of his life and career, as well as a list of his published works.
Early Childhood Development and Education
Émile Durkheim (1858–1917) was born to a pious French Jewish family in Épinal, France, on April 15, 1858. When his parents enrolled him at a rabbinical school, it was believed that he would follow in the footsteps of his father, grandpa, and great-grandfather, all of whom were rabbis.
He did not, however, follow in his family’s footsteps and moved schools when he realised that he opted to study religion from an agnostic perspective rather than being brainwashed. His excellent scores earned him admission to the École Normale Supérieure (ENS), a prestigious graduate institution in Paris, in 1879.
Later Life and Career
Durkheim had an interest in a scientific approach to society early in his career, resulting in the first of many clashes with the French academic establishment, which at the time had no social science curriculum. Durkheim was uninterested in humanistic studies, so he shifted his focus from psychology and philosophy to ethics and, finally, sociology.
In 1882, he earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy. Durkheim’s ideas did not qualify him for a prominent academic position in Paris, so he taught philosophy at numerous regional institutions from 1882 until 1887. He moved to Germany in 1885 to study sociology for two years. Durkheim’s time in Germany resulted in the publishing of a number of essays on German social science and philosophy, which won him a teaching position at the University of Bordeaux in 1887.
This was a significant indicator of the passage of time, as well as the rising relevance and respect for the social sciences. Durkheim used this position to assist change the French educational system and integrate social science studies into the curriculum.
Durkheim married Louise Dreyfus in 1887, and they had two children together.
Durkheim’s first major work, “The Division of Labor in Community,” was published in 1893, and it established the notion of “anomie,” or the breakdown of social norms’ impact on people within a society. His second major work, “The Rules of Sociological Method,” was released in 1895 and was a manifesto defining what sociology is and how it should be done.
In 1897, he wrote “Suicide: A Study in Sociology,” a case study that looked at the change in rate of suicide rates between Protestants and Catholics, suggesting that Catholics had greater social control and hence have lower suicide rates.
When he acquired the chair of education at the Sorbonne in 1902, Durkheim had finally fulfilled his objective of achieving a prominent position in Paris. Durkheim was also a consultant to the Ministry of Education.On November 15, 1917, Émile Durkheim died of a stroke in Paris and was buried in the city’s Montparnasse Cemetery.
for more about Sociology click here