• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Emile Durkheim on the Family is intended to bring attention to this classical sociologist’s work on the family. Durkheim’s writings in this area are little known, but the family was nevertheless one of his primary interests, the subject of an intended book that was never written. Durkheim’s ideas on the family appear only in scattered sources and a number of those sources have not been translated into English. Durkheim’s Sociology of the family has not heretofore been presented and analyzed holistically.

The Family System: Kin, Conjugal Family, and the State
The family system: Kin, conjugal family, and the state

Marriage founds the family.

Durkheim (1909b:280)

The forms of domestic life, even the most ancient and the most far removed from our mores, have not completely ceased to exist, but there remains something of it in the family of today.

Durkheim (1888a:263)

Chapter 2 traced the family's development over time, Durkheim's evolutionary theory of the family. But what did the family look like to Durkheim analytically? In terms of its separate components, the family appears as a system in which kin, the conjugal family, and the state maintain a dynamic equilibrium.

Elements of the Family System

In the introductory lecture of his course on the family, Durkheim (1888a) identifies the elements of the family ...

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