Mike GANE : The Radical Sociology of Durkheim and Mauss

Publication Information : Book Title : The Radical Sociology of Durkheim and Mauss. Contributors : Mike Gane – author. Publisher : Routledge. Place of Publication : New York. Publication Year : 1992.

Introduction Emile Durkheim, Marcel Mauss and the sociological project

By Mike Gane.

It is now becoming increasingly evident that much of recent conventional commentary on Durkheim and Mauss in English seriously misread just how radical the Durkheimian project attempted to be. Often treated as simple-minded, introductions to sociology present a contrast between Marx and the revolutionary tradition and Durkheim in a conservative tradition (Weber representing something of a sophisticated agnosticism). After the historic events in Russia, Eastern Europe and China in the late 1980s, it is now timely to look once again at the writings of Durkheim and the warnings it provided against simplistic revolutionism. In this collection Durkheim’s views on the revolutionary origins are discussed, as are his views on the evolution of morality and legal sanction, but the principal discussion is that of Marcel Mauss on the theory and practice of the Bolsheviks. Against this, also included is a contrasting consideration of Durkheim’s less than radical response to the women’s movement. This essay (Chapter 5) attempts to unravel some of the complexities of Durkheim’s opposition to full equality between the sexes. Critically, reflections, by Marcel Mauss, in the late 1930s also indicate second thoughts to the effect that Durkheim’s key proposition in respect of occupational guilds may have been seriously misguided.

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