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Biography of Emile Durkiem



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    Emile was born on 15th April 1858 at a place called Epinal in France. He came from a devoted French Jewish family. His father and grandparents had been Rabbi. Rabbi means Jewish teacher of law (Torah). He began his school at rabbinical school. He didn’t want to follow his father’s footsteps. He entered Ecole Normale Superieure (ENS) in 1879 in a third attempt. Only those who were intelligent were being selected to this School. Thus Emile was brilliant. It was at this school where he read about Augustine Comte and Herbert Spencer. Therefore, he became interested in studying the society.

    At that time French academic system had no Social Science in its curriculum. He graduated with a Degree in Philosophy. He taught Philosophy in different schools in France. In 1885 he left for Germany where he studied Sociology for two years. While in Germany he published so many articles about Social science and Philosophy. Because of these articles he gained recognition in France and received a teaching appointment at University of Bordeaux where he was to teach Social Science. It was an important time for the growth of Sociology. He was the first to introduce Sociology in French Universities.

    He founded European Department of Sociology at University of Bordeaux. He founded first French Social Science Magazine to develop Sociology. He became the first French Sociology Professor. He was an Advisor to the Ministry of Education . He helped to reform French education system and he introduced study of Social Science in its curriculum. In 1887, he married Louise Drefurs with whom he had two children. ( Marie and Andrie) Emile Durkiem published four important books which has contributed a lot in modern Sociology and for the future generation.

    In 1892 he published his first book called Division of Labour. In this book he explained about allocation of people in society according to merit and importance of collective consciousness (sharing of norms, values and beliefs) in holding society together. In 1895 he published another book called The Rules of Sociological Method. He explained the meaning of Sociology and how it should be done. In 1897 he published another book called Suicide. He conducted a case study about suicide rates among Protestants and Catholics.

    In his study he founded that Catholics had less suicide rates because they had strong social bond than the Protestants. He said that suicide is a social fact. In 1912 he published his last book called Elementary Forms of Religious Life. It was a book that analyses religions as Social phenomena. Sociologists like Marx, Spencer and Comte all accepted the importance of science in Sociology, but no one used scientific methods but Emile applied scientific methods to Sociology as a discipline. For example he did case study on suicide rates.

    Emile distinguished Sociology from other social science disciplines. He said that society was independent on its own. He stressed on the importance of studying social facts which are features of a group. He said that social facts should be studied as a group not as individual. In his view Sociology was science of studying society at large not individuals. During world war 2 Emiles son, Andrie died in war 1915. It was a great loss for Emile. He collapsed of stroke and died on 15th November, 1917 at the age of 59. He was buried in Paris, France. Prepared by,

    Biography of Emile Durkiem. (2016, Nov 12). Retrieved from

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