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David Emile Durkheim

The Rules of Sociological Method

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The Rules of Sociological Method, 1964 [1895], Edited by George E.G. Catlin, Translated by Sarah A. Solovay & John H. Mueller.  New York: The Free Press of Glenco


From the Publisher:

One of Emile Durkheim's chief works, this book raises two controversial issues of cardinal importance for all sciences directly concerned with human relationships--whether economic, political, or genetic.

The first issue spotlighted is the genuine distinction between the natural and the social sciences.  Durkheim reveals that the methods used in the natural sciences are, nevertheless, valid within the social field.  Secondly, he show how attempts are being made to absorb the social sciences into an enlarged psychology.  Against this tendency Durkheim points out that social phenomena, "far from being the product of the individual's own ideas or will, opinion or caprice...have a constraining influence upon the individual and even upon the aggregate of these individuals."

The Rules of Sociological Method remains not only a landmark in the history of the social sciences, but also is a dependable guide for the student and the professional sociologist.

Table of Contents:

Translators' Note
Introduction to the Translation
Author's Preface to the First Edition
Author's Preface to the Second Edition
Author's Introduction

  1. What Is a Social Fact?
  2. Rules for the Observation of Social Facts
  3. Rules for Distinguishing Between the Normal and  the Pathological
  4. Rules for the Classification of Social Types
  5. Rules for the Explanation of Social Facts
  6. Rules Relative to Establishing Sociological Proofs