Civilisation in General and Types of Civilisation (1902)

  • Emile Durkheim
Part of the Contemporary Social Theory book series


In current practice the term ‘general sociology’ is unfortunately employed with a total lack of precision. It commonly serves to designate a kind of speculation which relates, without distinction and arbitrarily, to the most varied categories of social phenomena, and which consequently touches upon all kinds of questions. In a word it is characterised by hardly anything save the extreme indeterminateness of its object. The majority of the works that we review every year under this rubric present only too frequently this character. Yet general sociology could and should be something different. While every special sociological science deals with a determinate species of social phenomena, the role of general sociology might be to reconstitute the unity of all that is dissected by analysis in this way. The problems to which it should address itself with this aim in view are in no way vague or indecisive; they can be formulated in perfectly well-defined terms and are capable of being treated methodically.

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© Macmillan Publishers Limited 1982

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  • Emile Durkheim

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