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Durkheim, Émile (1858–1917)

Émile Durkheim, the father of French sociology and one of the greatest sociologists of the nineteenth century, was born in 1858 and died in 1917. Durkheim planned to become a rabbi since his father was a rabbi and came from a long line of rabbis, but in his adolescence, Durkheim abandoned the idea due to his interest in the new social science of sociology. He held the first chair of sociology in France and did a great deal to establish sociology as an empirical discipline.

He wrote a number of seminal books such as Suicide, The Division of Labor in Society, Moral Education, and The Elementary Forms of Religious Life. Durkheim was interested in what he called “social facts,” which he defined in The Rules ...

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