This new volume of the SAGE Social Thinkers series provides a concise introduction to the work, life, and influences of Émile Durkheim, one of the informal “holy trinity” of sociology's founding thinkers, along with Weber and Marx. The author shows that Durkheim's perspective is arguably the most properly sociological of the three. He thought through the nature of society, culture, and the complex relationship of the individual to the collective in a manner more concentrated and thorough than any of his contemporaries during the period when sociology was emerging as a discipline.

The “Revelation” of Religion

The “Revelation” of Religion
The “revelation” of religion

In 1894 to 1895, Durkheim gave his first course on religion at Bordeaux. It was at this point, he later claimed, that he first realized the importance religion has in the study of human society and culture, and he began to formulate a framework to study it sociologically. He classified this moment as a “revelation” (Lukes, 1985, p. 237). As we have already seen, the middle 1890s were a period of immense creative energy for Durkheim. Just a year previously, he had published The Rules, and a year later, in 1896, he would launch the effort to create the first sociological journal, l'Année sociologique, and then in 1897 Suicide appeared. But all along, while he was publishing this ...

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