Emile Durkheim's Theory Of Sociological Theory

1471 Words6 Pages
In the nineteenth century modern science, which is based on scientific methods, took the place of the appeals to divine and religions. The rapid social change and the great success of natural scientific approaches encouraged people to explore the social world with more systematic, rational and empirical methods which results in the emergency of social science (Benton and Craib, 2001:22). Due to the lack of formalized rules for studying societies, sociologists developed a series of principles for research which could help them explore different social phenomena (Bilton et al, 2002:444). Emile Durkheim, whose conception of sociology was one of the earliest attempts to explain how the society could be studied scientifically, set out his methodological…show more content…
It is clear that Durkheim idealized the formation of natural science when managing to prove that sociology is a part of natural science. Some contradictions between methodological principle and practical research still exist. A crucial example is Durkheim’s study of suicide, which aimed to find out the causes of social suicide. According to Bilton et al (2002:475), in this study, Durkheim managed to prove that suicide could be explored at the level of society with the exclusion of other facts such as economic change and social cohesion. The study was based on the official statistics from different countries, which illustrated his emphasis on the importance of quantitative approaches. He argued that the suicide resulted from social factors rather than individual propensities (ibid: 475). It is true that his study of suicide showed the importance of social facts and started in the way which followed the rule that sociologists should start from a range of phenomena which are defined by certain common external characteristics beforehand. Nevertheless, there are still some limitations. Firstly, it is not scientific to study a particular social fact without the careful consideration of the other relevant factors. The fact of suicide needs to be explained…show more content…
A crucial instance is his analysis which was presented in ‘The Division of Labour in Society’(Gane, 2009:83). Durkheim thought that French society was in a severe condition of malaise because of the abnormal structure of society, which resulted from the abolition of the guild system. Durkheim aimed to identify a method through which the structural imbalance could be resolved with the application of his methodology. He argued that the normal social system could only be restored by reintroducing modern equivalent of the guild towards the pattern called ‘institutional socialism’. According to Durkheim (1966:64), his primary rule is that a social fact is considered to be normal if it is in the average society of the social species. He also put forward a more theoretical rule which required a verification for a normal fact. The verification is necessary when the fact concerns a social species that has not reached its complete evolution. However, as Gane (2009:83) states, the two rules tend to contradict each other. The primary rules suggests that economic anomie is normal in generalities. Nevertheless, the theoretical analysis of the second rule show that economic anomie is pathological although it is universal. There are also debates in modern research. Durkheimians who obey
Open Document