Emile Durkheim is a French sociologist. He is considered as the father of sociology because he has been plays a major role in developing sociology as a science. During his lifetime, Durkheim gave many lectures and published a number of sociological works in diverse subject such as religion, suicide, and all aspects of society.
Durkheim was born on April 15, 1858, in Epinal, Lorraine, France and died in Paris on 15 November 1917. His father and grandfather had been rabbis. However, Durkheim himself would be lead completely secular life. In 1879, he entered the Ecole Normale Superieure. His thought began to take shape under the guidance of Numa Denis Fustel de Coulanges. At that time, he also read works of Auguste Comte and Herbert Spencer.Thought and Works
The sociological positivism of Auguste Comte fundamentally influences Durkheim’s thought and his view of society. Another influence on Durkheim's view of society was social realism. Durkheim adopted a realist perspective in order to demonstrate the existence of social realities outside the individual and to show that realities existed in the form the objective relations of society.
Durkheim authored some statement on what sociology is and how it should be practiced. His main concern was to establish sociology as a science. According to Durkheim, sociology must have an object of study and has its own methodology.
Social fact is an important Durkheim’s idea on sociology. Sociology is the science of social facts. Social facts are not bound to the actions of individual but have a coercive influence on them. Durkheim argued that social facts were something sui generis, a larger and more objective than the actions of individuals in society. Social facts have a coercive power to control individual behaviors. Different with the facts studied in nature sciences, a social fact thus refers to a specific category of phenomena.
During his lifetime Durkheim published many works with different sociological subject. Several major works of Durkheim are The Division of Labor in Society (1893), Rules of the Sociological Method (1895), Suicide (1897), and The Elementary Forms of Religious Life (1912).