The Oxford handbook of Emile Durkheim

New York, NY: Oxford University Press (2024)
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Abstract

Émile Durkheim remains one of the most controversial, and deeply misunderstood, classics of social theory. His work differs from the dominant version of sociology that has essentially accepted the modernist self-description of contemporary societies; and it contradicts the individualism that has come to dominate the social sciences. For everybody who is interested in constructing theoretical alternatives to this individualism, Durkheim's sociology can be a useful inspiration - not only because of the solutions it suggests, but already because of the questions it asks. Making use of the theoretical possibilities offered by the Durkheimian tradition, however, requires going beyond the familiar appropriations. The Oxford Handbook of Émile Durkheim takes stock of the different recent debates on Durkheimian sociology, and makes them accessible to a wide audience spanning various disciplines; this includes crucial debates that, due to language barriers, are not easily accessible for an English-reading public. The handbook's chapters elucidate the controversial key concepts of Durkheimian sociology; situate them within the contemporary political and theoretical debates they were originally responding to; offer surveys of empirical research that uses Durkheimian concepts (on topics that were already central for Durkheim's own work as well as on topics that Durkheim hardly touched upon), thus demonstrating the possibilities of a Durkheimian sociology; bring out the divergent, and competing, ways in which Durkheim's ideas have been appropriated and reformulated within more recent theoretical developments in the social sciences. In doing so, this volume is an important resource for all scholars and students looking to understand Durkheimian sociology.

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