Throughout his life David Emile Durkheim managed to write about many aspects of life, however his most influential work had to do with sociology. Today he is known as the father of sociology for the innovative and revolutionary work he did. However, his works are not always easily understandable, but once understood its reach is endless. One of the questions that comes from Durkheim’s works is how the individual developed a sense of autonomy, how the individual was able to break out of the mold of centuries in the making. Durkheim explained how they were able to become individually autonomous in his many works.
Durkheim was born on April 15, 1858 in Epinal, France. His mother was a merchant’s daughter and a Chief Rabbi. His father, grandfather, and great-grandfather all had been rabbis and thus he went to rabbinical school at a young age, grooming to become a rabbi later in his life. To his father’s grief, Durkheim was not meant to become a rabbi and that became apparent when he moved to Paris to go to school and broke away from the Jewish faith. He attended the Collège d'Epinal majoring in Letters and Sciences, and became intent on a future in teaching. He attended to the Ecole Normale Supérieure for higher education, accepted in 1879 after two failed attempts (Emile Durkheim, 2013).
Durkheim’s generation was in at that school produced some of the most influential minds of the time, including socialist Jean Jaurès, and philosophers Henri Bergson and Maurice Blondel among many others. For part of his time at the school he was filled with feelings of insecurity and inadequacy, however he began to participate in many political and philosophical debates and became an advocate of the teachings of Léon Gambetta, the brilliant orator of the Third Republic, and of Jules Ferry and his anti-clerical teachings. Durkheim finally became a teacher in 1882, and joined the Faculty of Letters at Bordeaux. After some time Durkheim’s work on philosophy and society began gaining momentum and he was eventually appointed as the man in charge in Bordeaux and the scientific minds were in favor of his teachings because went against their humanist nature (Emile Durkheim, 2013). Durkheim was able to shed all the criticism and teach as he wanted to, and eventually founded the Année Sociologique and after years of scrutiny and intellectual breakthroughs Durkheim was made a professor.
Durkheim had many works throughout his life; a big part of them had to do with how people could maintain their integrity in the modern times. This was a time in which social and religious connections were no longer the norm and newer social institutions were on the rise. Durkheim wrote many works, but his major ones were The Division of Labor in Society, Suicide, Rules of the Sociological Method, and finally The Elementary Forms of Religious Life. Throughout his life Durkheim strived to make sociology an accepted science. He believed that sociology was used to discover structural social...