THE SOCIOLOGY OF EMILE DURKHEIM by Robert Nisbet

THE SOCIOLOGY OF EMILE DURKHEIM

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

During the 1960's sociologists were often called flunkies of capitalism. In the 1970's those who have ""had it"" with such attacks are resurrecting the ghost of Durkheim to re-legitimize their own work. Professor Nisbet's book is part of this revival of interest in the father of French sociology who was also a spokesman for objectivity and solidarity of the Third Republic. Nisbet's presentation lacks the depth of Steven Lukes' biography, Emile Durkheim: His Life and Work (1973) and the interpretive originality of Dominick La Capra's Emile Durkheim (1972), but it is a welcome primer. It reviews all of the major facets of the Durkheim corpus: from the well-known studies on suicide and the division of labor to the less available reflections on the moral order and the pessimistic outlook on modern culture. Nisbet also draws our attention to aspects of Durkheim's thought that are conventionally disregarded, such as his theory of politics and his writings on socialization and social psychology in general. The main virtue of this small volume is that it opens a full chapter of classical sociological theory to the beginning student and the lay reader, and stirs further interest. Its drawback is Professor Nisbet's overidentification with the more naive aspects of Durkheim's conservatism: his conviction that ultimately disorder is a greater evil than injustice.

Pub Date: March 14th, 1974
Publisher: Oxford