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Berghahn Books, 1997 - Social Science - 206 pages

Montesquieu's Spirit of the Laws (1748) is one of the outstanding works of modern social thought. Durkheim's Latin thesis (1892) is not only one of the outstanding interpretations of that work, but also a seminal statement of his own ideas on society and on sociological method. It was the companion thesis to The Division of Labour and a forerunner of The Rules of Sociological Method.

This is the first English translation directly from the original Latin text, and also includes the original text, along with full editorial notes, a related article by Durkheim on Hyppolite Taine and a commentary on Durkheim and Montesquieu by W. Watts Miller.


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About the author (1997)

Emile Durkheim was born in Epinal, France on April 15, 1858. He received a baccalauréats in Letters in 1874 and Sciences in 1875 from the Collège d'Epinal. He became a professor of sociology at the Sorbonne, where he founded and edited the journal L'Annee Sociologique. He is renowned for the breadth of his scholarship; for his studies of primitive religion; for creating the concept of anomie (normlessness); for his study of the division of labor; and for his insistence that sociologists must use sociological (e.g., rates of behavior) rather than psychological data. He published several works including His Suicide in 1897. His notion of community, his view that religion forms the basis of all societies, had a profound impact on the course of community studies. He died on November 15, 1917 at the age of 59.

W. Watts Miller is editor of Durkheimian Studies and author of Durkheim, Morals and Modernity.

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