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Émile Durkheim: A Biography

Hardback By Marcel Fournier
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Product Description

This book will become the standard work on the life and thought of Émile Durkheim, one of the great founding fathers of sociology. Durkheim remains one of the most widely read thinkers in the social sciences and every student of sociology, anthropology and related subjects must study his now-classic books. He brought about a revolution in the social sciences: the defence of the autonomy of sociology as a science, the systematic elaboration of rules and methods for studying the social, the condemnation of racial theories, the critique of Eurocentrism and the rehabilitation of the humanity of ‘the primitive’. He defended the dignity of the individual, the freedom of the press, democratic institutions and the essential liberal values of tolerance and pluralism. At the same time he was critical of laisser-faire economics and he defended the values of solidarity and community life. In many ways, Durkheim’s rich intellectual heritage has become part of the self-understanding of our time.

 Despite his enormous influence, the last major biography of Durkheim appeared more than 30 years ago. Since then, the opening up of archives and the discovery of manuscripts, correspondence with friends and close collaborators, administrative reports and notes taken by students have all provided a wealth of new material about his life and work. Meticulously documented, Marcel Fournier’s new biography sheds fresh light on Durkheim’s personality and character, his relationship with Judaism, his family life, his relations with friends and collaborators, his political and administrative responsibilities and his political views.

This book will be indispensable to students and scholars throughout the social sciences and will appeal to a wide readership interested in knowing more about the life and work of one of the most original and influential thinkers of the twentieth century.

Product Details

Format: Hardback, 700 pages Language: English
Dimension: 23.11cm x 16.76cm x 7.11cm ISBN10: 074564645X
Weight: 1429g ISBN13: 9780745646459
Publication Date: 07 Dec 2012 Publisher: Polity Press

About Author

Marcel Fournier is professor of sociology at the University of Montreal.

Product Reviews


Winner of the 2014 ASA 'History of Sociology Distinguished Scholarly Publication Award   "Fournier's remarkable work of scholarship is a fitting tribute to a man who was an innovative and influential thinker, and who dedicated his entire career to advancing the cause of sociology." Irish Times "Definitive … I doubt that we are likely to see another appraisal of Durkheim's life as systematic as Marcel Fournier's very soon. He has given the great man a decent burial." Literary Review "A monument of painstaking scholarship. It draws on a rich cache of newly available documents and will be an indispensable source for the foreseeable future." Times Literary Supplement "Durkheim comes alive; for that we owe Fournier a debt of gratitude:

  Essential" Choice "This beautifully translated book provides a rich, exhaustive, and exhausting account of Durkheim as one of the central founders of sociology, and of the era of French intellectual and social history in which he lived." Church Times "Marcel Fournier sets a new standard for depth of scholarship and vividness of exposition in recovering the life of the founder of sociology. It ranks with the very small number of great intellectual biographies of those who laid down the tracks of modern social thought." Randall Collins, University of Pennsylvania"Fournier is the greatest living scholar of French sociology. With this work, he gives us a new Durkheim, a man broiled in the political controversies of his time, an academic patriarch who laid the foundations for a more cultural sociology." Jeffrey C. Alexander, Yale University"Marcel Fournier has provided a comprehensive intellectual biography of a key founder of modern sociology: Émile Durkheim. It is an invaluable complement to Steven Lukes’s earlier Émile Durkheim in that it provides in meticulous detail newly available contextual data, particularly of the last period in Durkheim’s life, such as his concern over the fate of Jewish Russian immigrants and the role of the modern university." Edward A. Tiryakian, Professor Emeritus, Duke University


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