The Echoes of the Mind (119-5) Émile Durkheim

Émile Durkheim

Our whole social environment seems to us to be filled with forces which really exist only in our own minds. ~ Émile Durkheim

French sociologist, social psychologist, and philosopher Émile Durkheim (1858–1917) also viewed society through an evolutionary lens.

One cannot explain a social fact of any complexity except by following its complete development through all social species. ~ Émile Durkheim

Durkheim was another devotee of sociology as a mechanical science. He worked at a time of great social change, as industrialization stressed societal stability. His interest was in social order and how it was maintained.

Society is not a mere sum of individuals. Rather, the system formed by their association represents a specific reality which has its own characteristics. The group thinks, feels, and acts quite differently from the way in which its members would were they isolated. ~ Émile Durkheim

The answer Durkheim discovered was that culture acts as social glue: mores, morals, and traditions – what Durkheim called social facts – act as collective conceptions which guide behaviors.

Man is only a moral being because he lives in society, since morality consists in solidarity with the group, and varies according to that solidarity. ~ Émile Durkheim