ABSTRACT

Émile Durkheim (1858-1917) is listed in every reference book with Max Weber and Karl Marx as a principal founder of modern sociology. Of the three pioneers, Marx was preeminently a politician, secondarily an economist, and his analysis of society per se was usually limited to an almost mechanical passage on class conflict. Weber was first of all a historian, distinguished because his view of history went far beyond the routine accounts of rulers and their politics. Of the three, Durkheim was the sociologist. With his axiom that “social facts must always be explained by other social facts,” he made it a distinction of his works to ignore both personal attributes and the psychological theories to explain happenings in the transpersonal sector. And of the four books that make up his major contribution, Suicide (1897) is perhaps the most significant.