Non-Fiction Books:

Deconstructing Durkheim

A Post-Post Structuralist Critique


Paperback / softback

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Deconstructing Durkheim by Jennifer M Lehmann
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This study provides a close textual analysis of Durkheimian sociology from the standpoint of critical structuralism. Durkheim's social ontology is analyzed as a sociologistic theory of reality riven by an apparent tension between social determinism and individualism. This tension is probed to reveal its ultimate resolution in an absolute social determinism. This sociologistic social determinism is then scrutinized, as a potential affinity beween Durkheimianism and structuralism. It is demonstrated that Durkheim's ontological social determinism, while absolute, is coextensive with an ontological collective subjectivism. The author concludes that Durkheim's socio-ontology is wholly incompatible with structuralist socio-ontology. Durkheim's epistemology is analyzed as a sociological theory of knowledge, engendering an apparent tension between social relativism and scientific rationalism. This tension is examined to reveal its ultimate resolution in an absolute scientific rationalism. This sociological scientific rationalism is then scrutinized as a potential affinity between Durkheimianism and structuralism. It is demonstrated that Durkheim's epistemological scientific rationalism is coextensive with an epistemological collective subjectivism. The author concludes that Durkheimian socio-epistemology is wholly incompatible with structuralist socio-epistemology. The central principle of Durkheimian sociology is identified as organicism. Organicism is found to produce the distinctive Durkheimian onto-epistemology, collective subjectivism and to situate Durkheimian social theory in the paradigm of structural functionalism. It marks an absolute distinction between Durkheimian and structuralist onto-epistemologies. Dissecting the body of Durkheim's work is intended to reveal the structural functionalist morphology of his theory, and demarcate Durkheimian structural functionalism from post-Sausserian and critical structuralism.
Release date NZ
April 20th, 1995
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
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