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 Interior of the Family

The interior of the family

The family … sustains the individual in each moment and under all aspects of his existence.

Davy (1925:113)

Durkheim's perspective on the family presents a formal family structure. He finds family in the “objective” terms of legal regulation and normative practices—the institutional rather than relational side of marriage and the family.

Is there a place in Durkheim's work for the psychosocial interior of the family? Durkheim's family interior is lightly furnished, but it does exist—in discourse on solidarity, domesticity, affectivity, gender, socialization, and individuality. These topics vary in terms of Durkheim's attention, from extensive pages on solidarity to brief and offhand references to emotions. They bring together some contradictory aspects of Durkheim's thought: his concern for solidarity and regulation ...

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