Introduction to Emile Durkheim's "Anti-Semitism and Social Crisis"

Sociological Theory 26 (4):299 - 323 (2008)
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Emile Durkheim's "Antis?mitisme et crise sociale," written in 1899 during the Dreyfus Affair in France, is introduced. The introduction summarizes the principal contributions that "Antis?mitisme et crise sociale" makes to the sociology of anti-Semitism, relates those contributions to Durkheim's broader theoretical assumptions and concerns, situates his analysis of anti-Semitism in its social and historical context, contrasts it to other analyses of anti-Semitism (Marxist and Zionist) that were prominent in Durkheim's time, indicates some of the revisions and additions that a fuller and more complete Durkheimian theory of anti-Semitism would entail, and highlights the significance of Durkheim's ideas for the contemporary study of ethnic and racial antagonism. While noting the limitations of Durkheim's analysis, the introduction concludes that "Antis?mitisme et crise sociale" has sadly regained its relevance in the light of a revival of anti-Semitism at the turn of the millennium.



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