Nineteenth Century Philosophy

Sociology and Philosophy

What were Emil Durkheim’s main ideas?

Durkheim thought that the “horde,” or non-organized group, was the simplest kind of society, and he analyzed existing tribal societies as having developed simple methods of social organization from their recent horde past. Social complexity was an evolutionary process, and in the societies of his day, Durkheim addressed the problems attending their complexity, such as individualism and dissolution of older forms of solidarity. Because modern societies were based on divisions of labor, the best way to solve these problems was through professional and trade organizations. Durkheim believed that religion could be understood as a reverence for those social norms and traditions that shaped human life.


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