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Scholar, sociologist and public figure: The intellectual trajectory of Emile Durkheim in fin-de-siecle France

Vesey, CE; (2014) Scholar, sociologist and public figure: The intellectual trajectory of Emile Durkheim in fin-de-siecle France. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

The period stretching from around 1880 to 1914 was one of great creative effervescence in France, marked by new trends in art and literature and the opening up of new fields of knowledge. A time of increasing political polarisation, it was also in this epoch that scholars, writers and artists began to get involved in the political life of the nation on an unprecedented scale and when the term ‘intellectual’ first came into common usage. Remembered today as the founder of the French school of sociology it is from this period that Émile Durkheim’s scientific breakthrough dates. Drawing on a set of conceptual tools elaborated by Pierre Bourdieu, this project delves into the early period of French sociology and seeks to explain how Durkheim managed to distinguish himself among his contemporaries as the legitimate representative of the new discipline in France. Through looking at his ties to the major institutions of the French intellectual field it traces Durkheim’s progress from a situation of relative marginality in the 1880s to a dominant intellectual position by the eve of the First World War. The suggestion is that through enquiring into the sources of Durkheim’s legitimacy we can also gain an original perspective on the debated topic of his politics and conception of his own role as a public intellectual during the French Third Republic.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Scholar, sociologist and public figure: The intellectual trajectory of Emile Durkheim in fin-de-siecle France
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > SELCS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1434403
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