Emile Durkheim

“It is science, and not religion, which has taught people that things are complex and difficult to understand."


Born April 15, 1858 in Epinal, France. Born into a Jewish family, Durkheim was broke from Judaism as a boy, but still had close ties to his orthodox family. He later attended the College of Epinal where he skipped two years of schooling due to his intelligence and recieved degrees in Letters and Sciences. He was an active participant in the high-minded political and philosophical debates in his time period.

Time Period

Europe during the 1860’s was an eventful decade with numerous cultural, social, and political uprises in Europe and America. Revolutions were happening in Germany and the Ottoman Empire. Slavery ended in America, which led to the end of the Atlantic Slave Trade. The 1880s were a part of the Gilded Age, which lasted from 1874 to 1907. The second industrial revolution took place

Contributions  to Sociology

He founded and edited the first journal of sociology (The Rules of Sociological Method) and became France’s first sociology professor. He was one of the founding fathers of modern sociology. Durkheim created the term “collective consciousness,” which is the knowledge and beliefs shared by members of a society that allow them to maintain their beliefs, behaviors, appearances, and aspirations in common. His most important work concerned suicide.

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