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1

What is the Structure of the Durkheim Exam Q?

Introduction
Suicides (1897)
Political Concerns
Fascism
Systems of Religion
Sexism
What's wrong w/ being conservative?
Conclusion

2

What is the Introduction of the Durkheim Exam Question?

Emile Durkheim is a French sociological theorist who lived from 1858 to 1917.

He is known for works surrounding Division of Labour, Suicides and Elementary Forms of Religious Life.

Along with Karl Marx and Max Weber, he became one of the three founding members of sociology; famous for his views on the structure of society.

He was the one who gained credibility in France for making sociology a discipline.

Durkheim has been seen as a conservative thinker, arguably focusing on conservative ideas.

This exam answer will look into the claims made by academics that he is Conservative; whilst looking at the arguments that he isn’t. It’ll take the arguments from a political, fascist, sexist and religious perspective.

Taking everything into account, we can see that his work may side more towards conservatism; however it should be took into account that he still had liberal views.

Although this is true, his views were also deemed to be conservative; and overall we can see a conservative viewpoint on Durkheim.

3

What is the Structure of the Introduction of the Durkheim Exam Question?

Lifespan
His works
Impact
He's seen as conservative
This essay will...

4

What's Durkheim's lifespan (Intro, D)?

Emile Durkheim is a French sociological theorist who lived from 1858 to 1917.

5

What work is Durkheim known for (Intro, D)?

He is known for works surrounding Division of Labour, Suicides and Elementary Forms of Religious Life.

6

What is Durkheim's impact (Intro, D)?


Along with Karl Marx and Max Weber, he became one of the three founding members of sociology; famous for his views on the structure of society.

He was the one who gained credibility in France for making sociology a discipline.

7

Is Durkheim seen as a conservative thinker (Intro, D)?

Durkheim has been seen as a conservative thinker, arguably focusing on conservative ideas.

8

What will the exam answer do (Intro, D)?

This exam answer will look into the claims made by academics that he is Conservative; whilst looking at the arguments that he isn’t. It’ll take the arguments from a political, fascist, sexist and religious perspective.

Taking everything into account, we can see that his work may side more towards conservatism; however it should be took into account that he still had liberal views.

Although this is true, his views were also deemed to be conservative; and overall we can see a conservative viewpoint on Durkheim.

9

What is the Suicides (1897) paragraph about?

'Suicide' is a 1897 book published by Durkheim. In it, he looks into social facts.

Social Facts are external to the individual, cursive to the individual, and are explained by other social facts.

There are 2 types of Social Fact, material and non-material.
Material: Technologies we use, buildings we live/are educated in: we’re all constrined together and are forced to act a certain way in that building
Non-Material: social facts which do not have a material reality. They consist of features such as norms, values, and systems of morality. Durkheim was more interested in these, because they’re harder to observe

In Suicide (1897), Suicide is seen as a Social Fact.
Sociologists have to say that suicide is a social fact; and thus compare it to other social acts – such as the level of integration or level of regulation on behaviour.
In terms of integration Durkheim would look at the role of religious institutions, domestic practises and political cultures.
In terms of regulation, he would look at senses of belonging and moral worth. This makes suicide not individual anymore; and gives a comprehensive view on how suicides were.

In his groundbreaking book, Suicide outside individual capacity. For human beings to be happy, their individual needs and aspirations must be constrained. Durkheim believes that these needs and aspirations are the products of a reflective social consciousness

Durkheim does not look at individual suicide, and the psychology behind them. Instead, he looks at suicide rates & trends (especially fluctuations). He would look at one country, its statistics and historical variation; and compare them to other countries’. In his work, he did that with France and Holland, as they’re close geographically; but there differing cultures made them very different.

Plus he went against more positivist and scientific looks on social situations, that would focus more on the individuals biological makeup and life. This made him seem more of a classic, and conservative theorist.


From this, Durkheim came up with 4 main types of suicide:
Altruistic suicide (too much integration – e.g. suicide bombing),
Egoistic suicide (too little integration – e.g. in religious cultures),
Anomic suicide (not enough regulation – can be linked with economic instability), and
Fatalistic suicide (too much regulation – leading to situations of hopelessness).


Conservativism can be seen in Durkheim's analysis of Egoistic Suicide, caused by Not enough integration
Durkheim looks into catholic versus protesting versus Jewish society is, and their suicide rate. He found that Protestants have the highest suicide rate, where Catholics predominates it is much lower, and the aptitude for Jews is lower.
He says this is due to the nature of the religion/religious confession: Protestantism. Suicide is related to a spirit of free enquiry. It consists of greater freedom of thought to the individual because he has fewer commonly accepted beliefs and practices
Therefore he concluded that if the suicidal tendency is great in educated circles, this due to the weakening of traditional beliefs and state of moral individualism resulting from this.
“ the stronger the integration of the religious community, and also the greater its preservative value.


This all being said, Suicide is a social fact. Social facts can be explained by other social facts. Comparisons with other social fact can lead to empirical testsing – something prevalent in the postivist and new age approaches.

Despite its flaws, it is Good to be counterintuitive as it offers a prospectus of sorts for the value or legitimacy of sociology as a discipline

Whereas the relationships between suicide and biological or physical factors were uncertain and ambiguous, those between suicide and certain sorts of social environment were direct and constant. It is here that we finally encountered real laws, allowing us to attempt a methodical classification of types of suicide

Therefore, although he can be argued to be conservative, it has led to further understanding of suicide and society, which is a benefit for all.

10

What is the structure of the Suicides (1897) paragraph?

Social Fact: what is it
Suicide as a social fact
Suicide is outside individual capacity
Types of suicide
Egoistic suicide
Benefits of conservative viewpoint

11

What is a social fact (Suicide, D)?

Something which affects the behaviour or attitudes of an individual member of that society.

Social Facts are external to the individual, cursive to the individual, and are explained by other social facts.

12

What are the types of social fact (Suicide, D)?

There are 2 types of Social Fact, material and non-material.

Material: Technologies we use, buildings we live/are educated in: we’re all constrined together and are forced to act a certain way in that building

Non-Material: social facts which do not have a material reality. They consist of features such as norms, values, and systems of morality. Durkheim was more interested in these, because they’re harder to observe

13

How is suicide a social fact? What other social facts were suicide compared with (Suicide, D)?

In Suicide (1897), Suicide is seen as a Social Fact.

Sociologists have to say that suicide is a social fact; and thus compare it to other social acts – such as the level of integration or level of regulation on behaviour.

In terms of integration Durkheim would look at the role of religious institutions, domestic practises and political cultures.

In terms of regulation, he would look at senses of belonging and moral worth. This makes suicide not individual anymore; and gives a comprehensive view on how suicides were.

14

How does Durkheim argue that suicide is outside individual capacity (Suicide, D)?

In his groundbreaking book, Suicide outside individual capacity. For human beings to be happy, their individual needs and aspirations must be constrained. Durkheim believes that these needs and aspirations are the products of a reflective social consciousness

Durkheim does not look at individual suicide, and the psychology behind them. Instead, he looks at suicide rates & trends (especially fluctuations). He would look at one country, its statistics and historical variation; and compare them to other countries’. In his work, he did that with France and Holland, as they’re close geographically; but there differing cultures made them very different.

15

What are the types of suicide (Suicide, D)?`

From this, Durkheim came up with 4 main types of suicide:

Altruistic suicide (too much integration – e.g. suicide bombing),

Egoistic suicide (too little integration – e.g. in religious cultures),

Anomic suicide (not enough regulation – can be linked with economic instability), and

Fatalistic suicide (too much regulation – leading to situations of hopelessness).

16

What type of religious societies does Durkheim look at for egoistic suicide? What are their suicide rates (Suicide, D)?

Protestant vs Catholic vs Jewish societies

He found that Protestants have the highest suicide rate, where Catholics predominates it is much lower, and the aptitude for Jews is lower.

17

What did Durkheim argue contributed to the different suicide rates in different religious communities (Suicide, D)?

He says this is due to the nature of the religion/religious confession: Protestantism. Suicide is related to a spirit of free enquiry. It consists of greater freedom of thought to the individual because he has fewer commonly accepted beliefs and practices

Therefore he concluded that if the suicidal tendency is great in educated circles, this due to the weakening of traditional beliefs and state of moral individualism resulting from this.

“ the stronger the integration of the religious community, and also the greater its preservative value.

18

What is the benefit of comparing social facts (Suicide, D)?

This all being said, Suicide is a social fact. Social facts can be explained by other social facts. Comparisons with other social fact can lead to empirical testsing – something prevalent in the postivist and new age approaches.

19

Why is it good to be counterintuitive in terms of suicide (Suicide, D)?

Despite its flaws, it is Good to be counterintuitive as it offers a prospectus of sorts for the value or legitimacy of sociology as a discipline

Whereas the relationships between suicide and biological or physical factors were uncertain and ambiguous, those between suicide and certain sorts of social environment were direct and constant. It is here that we finally encountered real laws, allowing us to attempt a methodical classification of types of suicide

20

How does Durkheim go against the positivist approach of social theory (Suicide, D)?

Plus he went against more positivist and scientific looks on social situations, that would focus more on the individuals biological makeup and life. This made him seem more of a classic, and conservative theorist.

21

What is the Political Concerns paragraph?

Durkheim has been noted for his refrain from political activism. During his lifetime, Durkheim was politically engaged, yet kept these engagements rather discrete. One source says that many believe based on Durkheim's apolitical stance and his focus on the morals of society, that he was in fact, a conservative.

In terms of political concerns, Durkheim was always concerned with social order & progress, in the rise of revolution, individualism, disorder and rule of the people.

Durkheim is often considered a conservative within the field of sociology, being concerned primarily with order, consensus, solidarity, social morality, and systems of religion. His theoretical analysis helped provide a basis for relatively conservative structural functional models of society.

Durkheim looked at the approach of evolutionism, alongside theorists such as Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) and Auguste Comte (1798-1857): That is, there are stages to social development, and where there are conflicts or disintegration of society, these tend to be corrected through evolutionary forces. This is opposed to Positivism and Functionalism

This has made people argue he is conservative politically.

This is further backed by his religious upbringing of Catholicism and Judaism. There have also been arguments that Durkheim's defended Republican France in the 1890s.

However, being apolitical to stay true to social science. One source says Émile Durkheim was a true social scientist, and as such he refrained as much as possible from political activism. Therefore his reasoning for his apparent conservativism is due to exterior reasons from the political spectrum

Also, he can be seen as politically liberal sue to his Involvement with the Dreyfus Affair:
Captain Alfred Dreyfus was a Young French artillery officer, of Alsatian and Jewish descent
He was wrongly charged with treason
Communicating french military secrets to the German Embassy in Paris
He was sentenced to life imprisonment
Evidence came to light and suggested someone else (Esterhazy) was the real culprit
But he was still seen as not guilty after a short trial

Durkheim in this case took moral individualism into account. His intervention on the side of the individual (Dreyfus in this case) against state institutions, and public opinion was liberal.

This would suggest that politically, Durkheim is a liberal.

22

What is the structure of the Political Concerns paragraph?

Refrain from political activism
Political concerns
Approach to social theory
Life and upbringing
Being apolitical to stay true to social science
Dreyfus Affair
Moral Individualism

23

How does Durkheim's refrain from political involvement make him seem like a political conservative (Political Concerns, D)?

Durkheim has been noted for his refrain from political activism. During his lifetime, Durkheim was politically engaged, yet kept these engagements rather discrete. One source says that many believe based on Durkheim's apolitical stance and his focus on the morals of society, that he was in fact, a conservative.

24

How does Durkheim's political concerns make him seem like a political conservative (Political Concerns, D)?

In terms of political concerns, Durkheim was always concerned with social order & progress, in the rise of revolution, individualism, disorder and rule of the people. Durkheim is often considered a conservative within the field of sociology, being concerned primarily with order, consensus, solidarity, social morality, and systems of religion. His theoretical analysis helped provide a basis for relatively conservative structural functional models of society.

25

How does Durkheim's approach to social theory make him seem like a political conservative (Political Concerns, D)?

Durkheim looked at the approach of evolutionism, alongside theorists such as Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) and Auguste Comte (1798-1857): That is, there are stages to social development, and where there are conflicts or disintegration of society, these tend to be corrected through evolutionary forces. This is opposed to Positivism and Functionalism

26

How does Durkheim's life & upbringing make him seem like a political conservative (Political Concerns, D)?

This is further backed by his religious upbringing of Catholicism and Judaism. There have also been arguments that Durkheim's defended Republican France in the 1890s.

27

Why did Durkheim stay apolitical (Political Concerns, D)?

However, he was being apolitical to stay true to social science. One source says Émile Durkheim was a true social scientist, and as such he refrained as much as possible from political activism.

Therefore his reasoning for his apparent conservativism is due to exterior reasons from the political spectrum

28

What was the Dreyfus Affair (Political Concerns, D)?

Also, he can be seen as politically liberal sue to his Involvement with the Dreyfus Affair:

Captain Alfred Dreyfus was a Young French artillery officer, of Alsatian and Jewish descent

He was wrongly charged with treason

Communicating french military secrets to the German Embassy in Paris

He was sentenced to life imprisonment

Evidence came to light and suggested someone else (Esterhazy) was the real culprit

But he was still seen as not guilty after a short trial

29

How did Durkheim take moral individualism into account (Political Concerns, D)?

Durkheim in this case took moral individualism into account. His intervention on the side of the individual (Dreyfus in this case) against state institutions, and public opinion was liberal.

This would suggest that politically, Durkheim is a liberal.

30

What is the Durkheim Fascist Paragraph?

In Durkheim's lifetime and legacy, he was viewed as a fascist. This can be seen through "Svend Ranulf, who had provcatively labeled Durkheim, along with Tonnies and Comte, one of the "scholary forerunners of Fascism""

On top of that, Durkhemian sociologists have also been seen as fascist; with studies looking into "the general claim that Durkheimian sociology has reactionary, fascist, or totalitarian affinities, and the specific claim that Marcel De´at’s Durkheimian background was a significant factor in his becoming a Nazi sympathizer. "

This being said, these claims do come with flaws. For example, the views of Ranulf, Déat, and their latter-day successors reveal deep confusion about democracy, solidarity, community, fascism, and resistance to fascism.

Also, most Durkheimians remained on the political left, and during the war many younger members of the Durkheimian group either fled the country or were involved in the French Resistance

On top of that, the Dreyfus Affair was a case highlighting the ignorance Anti-Semitism in France at the time. Durkheim condoning such measures suggests he is not a fascist.

Although, he was Jewish so of course he would care about the Jews, and not be ignorant about Judaism. Therefore, is he still ignorant regardless?