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Durkheim: Post-Positivist Social Science and Politics
Durkheim: Post-Positivist Social Science and Politics
Émile Durkheim’s Formation

Durkheim was born in 1858, one year after the death of Comte, in Épinal in Lorraine. His father, grandfather and great-grandfather had been rabbis. Épinal was briefly occupied by the Germans during the Franco-Prussian war of 1870–1. After the Treaty of Frankfurt of May 1871, by which Alsace-Lorraine was ceded to the German empire, Épinal became a French border town. These two elements of his childhood suggest that Durkheim would early have been aware of the uncertainties of ethnic, religious, and national identity. He was educated at the local collège and then transferred to Paris in 1875 in order to prepare himself for entry to the École Normale Supérieure. He gained admission at the third attempt, in 1879. He arrived in ...

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