The Theories of Emile Durkheim
Emile Durkheim also referred to as “The Father of Sociology” (Thio, 2002), played a critical role in establishing theories based on “Social Facts” (Thio, 2002) He is best known for his views of “social reality”( Thio, 2002) and their ties into how a society works. He was said to be a sociologist who played an important part in the development of “structural functionalism” (Thio, 2002), and sociology as a whole. His four major studies, or publications, have assured him a place in the history of sociology’s intellectual development (Thompson, 2002). The following contents will discuss Durkheim’s childhood, his studies, his journey through sociology, and his theories.
Emile Durkheim was born in France in April of 1858(The Biography of Emile Durkheim, 2000). He was the fourth child, and the second son of Moise and Melanie Durkheim (The Biography of Emily Durkheim, 2000). Brought up in a Jewish family, with many of rabbis including his father and grandfather, it was expected that Durkheim would be a rabbi as well. Early in life Durkheim “studied Hebrew, the Old Testament, and the Talmud, while also studying the regular course of traditional teaching in secular schools” (The Biography of Emile Durkheim, 2000). Durkheim participated in his “traditional Jewish confirmation” at the age of thirteen (The biography of Emile Durkheim, 2000). He later lost interest of his Jewish heritage, and became interested in the ideas of the catholic nation (otherwise known as Catholicism). Shortly after that he disengaged himself with all religious involvement and became an agnostic (Thompson, 2002). He did not reject his heritage; he just realized he preferred to study religion from an agnostic or non-religious standpoint (The biography of Emile Durkheim, 2000). Durkheim’s intelligence and excellent grades earned him early advancement at the D’Epinal, as well as high distinction in general” (The Biography of Emile Durkheim, 2000), thus making it easy for him to be accepted at the Lycee-le-grand in Paris (The biography of Emile Durkheim, 2000).” Durkheim transferred to the great French high schools, lycee-Louis-le-grand in Paris. However Lycee-Louis-le-grand was not his ambition, but rather the ‘Ecole Normale Superievre”. (Thompson, 2002) While studying at Lycee he prepared himself for the torturous “admission exams” that could open the doors to the “prestigious ‘Ecole Normale Superievre” (The Biography of Emily Durkheim, 2000), which was the “training ground for the intellectual elite of France” (Thompson, 2002). His “scientific way of thinking” did not make it easy for him to do well in the studies he required to get into this elite school (The Biography of Emile Durkheim, 2000)). After two attempts for the entrance exam he was finally accepted in 1879 (The biography of Emile Durkheim, 2000).
After being accepted to ‘Ecole Normale Superievre, Durkheim decided on a career as a philosophy teacher, as sociology was not a...