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Aux Origines des Sciences sociales françaises : politique, société et temporalité dans l'œuvre d'Émile Durkheim

The Origins of the French Social Sciences : Politics, Society and Temporality in the Works of Émile Durkheim
Bernard Lacroix


In this article, the author presents an original Durkheim, rather different from the usually accepted image of the aging prophet, a dusty and rapacious sociologism. As all the research carried out by the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme Durkheimian Study Group tends to prove, Émile Durkheim is an original author, interesting and current, for at least the three following reasons: a) because, in contradiction with his tenacious image as a positivist, he imposes a political vision on the society of his time; b) because, in opposition to all the militant mutilating reductionism attachée to his texts — which tend to make them appear either as conservative under the sign of social and moral reconciliation, or as praise of a totality, prelude to an apology of totalitarianism —, he is a theoretician torn betwixt and between his liberal preferences for the individual and his reasoned certitudes on the effective primacy of society; and c) because, finally, in contrast to the opinions held about him by most of those who would like to remember him only for the part of his work on objectivation, that objectivism to which he is sometimes led, he remains an author haunted by the anguish of temporality. Thus do we return to history. If this complex portrait of the French sociologist is not assumed to be correct, it is hard to understand how the founders of the Annales could have considered him as their master, and his work a source of theoretical inspiration for them.

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Archives de sciences sociales des religions, 1990, 69, pp. 109-127

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Bernard Lacroix, « Aux Origines des Sciences sociales françaises : politique, société et temporalité dans l'œuvre d'Émile Durkheim  », Archives de sciences sociales des religions [En ligne], L’héritage des Formes, mis en ligne le 19 juillet 2011, consulté le 16 janvier 2019. URL :

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Bernard Lacroix

Groupe d’analyse politique, Université Paris X — Nanterre

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Archives de sciences sociales des religions

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