Strengths And Weaknesses Of Emile Durkheim

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Emile Durkheim was born in 1858 in the region of France known as the Alsace-Lorraine. His father, grandfather, and great-grandfather had all been rabbis, however Durkheim quickly decided against following into the rabbinate early in his youth (Jones 1986). Durkheim excelled in science as a student, however his weakness in studying Latin and rhetoric caused him to fail the entrance exams to Ecole twice before he passed (Jones 1986). Durkheim trained to be a teacher at Ecole, as well as participated in lively debates, in which he advocated for the republican cause (Jones 1986). It was also at this time that Durkheim first read Comte and Spencer (Calhoun 2002). It was partially through these sources that Durkheim came to view social science and culture as an organic whole. Durkheim then went to …show more content…

Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of theoretical paradigms Much like the later structural functionalists that he would inspire, such as Radcliffe-Brown, Durkheim’s grounding in science led to a methodological strength. By focusing on understanding a single aspect of society, such as division of labor or suicide rates, Durkheim could focus on empirical data to create a testable hypothesis based on statistics. This makes it easy to refute and/or refine statements he made, but also made them easier to compare cross-culturally to see if variation exists. Some flaws exist in Durkheim’s thought. One minor flaw is that Durkheim failed to collect his own data, using outside sources collected by others. Furthermore, Durkheim has been criticized for his failure to take individual into account properly. This can be seen in a flaw in his legendary sociological work, Suicide. Many have criticized Durkheim for trying to explain micro events using macro statistics; however, Van Poppel and Day (1996) state that this isn’t a fallacy, but rather an empirical mistake as how suicides were described by Protestants and Catholics were described differently, which Durkheim failed to account

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