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Decolonising Durkheimian Conceptions of the International

Colonialism and Internationalism in the Durkheimian School during and after the Colonial Era

Grégoire Mallard and Jean Terrier

Abstract

Over the past 20 years, numerous scholars have called upon social scientists to consider the colonial contexts within which sociology, anthropology and ethnology were institutionalised in Europe and beyond. We explain how historical sociologists and historians of international law, sociology and anthropology can develop a global intellectual history of what we call the ‘sciences of the international’ by paying attention to the political ideas of the Durkheimian school of sociology. We situate the political ideas of the central figures explored in this special issue—Émile Durkheim, Marcel Mauss, Bronisław Malinowski and Alfred Métraux—in their broader context, analysing their convergence and differences. We also reinterpret the calls made by historians of ideas to ‘provincialise Europe’ or move to a ‘global history’, by studying how epistemologies and political imaginaries continued by sociologists and ethnologists after the colonial era related to imperialist ways of thinking.

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Jean-Christophe Marcel, Matthieu Béra, Jean-François Bert, and François Pizarro Noël

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Society, Morality, Embodiment

Tracing Durkheim's Legacy

Sondra L. Hausner

This issue of Durkheimian Studies presents the collective efforts of the participants of a workshop held in late 2017, the centenary anniversary of Émile Durkheim’s death, at the University of Oxford. The articles that emerged from it, published together in this special issue for the first time along with some new material, demonstrate a continuation of classic Durkheimian themes, but with contemporary approaches. First, they consider the role of action in the production of society. Second, they rely on authors’ own ethnographies: the contributors here engage with Durkheimian questions from the data of their own fieldsites. Third, effervescence, one of Durkheim’s most innovative contributions to sociology, is considered in depth, and in context: how do societies sustain themselves over time? Finally, what intellectual histories did Durkheim himself draw upon – and how can we better understand his conceptual contributions in light of these influences?

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In Memoriam

W. S. F. Pickering

William Watts Miller

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Obituary

Massimo Rosati

W. S. F. Pickering and Raquel Weiss

Durkheimian studies around the world have suffered a great loss, a totally unexpected tragic one, in the early death of Massimo Rosati. Here was a formidable, up-and-coming Italian scholar, whose work was much influenced by Durkheim and of whom he was a notable interpreter. Now, at the age of forty-four, he has died.

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A Major Discovery

Durkheim's Bordeaux University Library Loans

William Watts Miller

The discovery of registers recording Durkheim’s loans from Bordeaux University’s Arts and Science Library, and also his acquisition requests, presents scholars in the field with a vast and at the same time challenging mass of new material. Acknowledgements are due to Nicolas Sembel and Matthieu Béra for their combination of initiative and effort, after the initial discovery’s excitement, in looking for similar registers in the university’s Law and Medical Libraries, but also and not least in combing through the surviving records to work them up into readily accessible documents. In undertaking to publish the fruits of their research in this journal, it has been decided to do so in two stages. The first, in the present issue, consists of the documents themselves together with a commentary, in French, by Nicolas Sembel; this will be followed in the next issue by a commentary, in English, by Matthieu Béra.

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William Watts Miller

To mark the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Durkheim’s birth, a number of conferences were held during 2008 – beginning at Epinal, his hometown, then at Oxford, Paris, São Paolo, Warsaw and Berlin. As part of the effort to record this effervescence of activity, with its many different lines of research, the present issue of our journal includes a selection of articles based on contributions to these conferences, while others are planned for inclusion in the next issue. At the same time, preparations are under way for the publication of collections on specific themes – on Durkheim’s roots, drawing on the conference at Epinal; on interpretations and applications of Durkheimian sociology in Brazil, drawing on the conference at São Paolo; and on the issue of solidarity, drawing on contributions to the conferences at Oxford and Berlin.

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W. S. F. Pickering

References to Durkheim in Jewish periodicals and newspapers are hard to find. We are grateful to the late Etienne Halphen for having drawn our attention to two such items, which relate to the death of Durkheim. Both of them allude to Durkheim’s work on behalf of Russian Jews during the War. Reference might therefore be made to two letters on the issue, by Durkheim himself and by A. Lévy, the Grand Rabbi of France, discovered by Jennifer Mergy and published with an introduction and notes by her in Durkheimian Studies / Etudes durkheimiennes, 2000, n.s. 6: 1–4.

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In Memoriam

Rodney Needham (1923–2006)

W. S. F. Pickering

Rodney Needham died on 3 December, 2006, at the age of 83 after a longish illness. Influenced by Evans-Pritchard, he has been called the foremost British anthropologist of his day. He was Professor of Social Anthropology in Oxford from 1976 to 1990. Although far from being enamoured with the work of Durkheim, he showed a strong sympathy for the work of some of his disciples and was instrumental in bringing their work to the notice of English-speaking scholars. Amongst his great output of books and articles – about four hundred – there appeared in 1960 a translation of two essays by Robert Hertz with the title, Death and the Right Hand.

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Introduction

The Lenoir-Durkheim Lecture Notes on L'enseignement de la morale

William Watts Miller

These are lectures on morality, attributed to Durkheim by Raymond Lenoir and given to Steven Lukes, who reproduced them in his doctoral thesis on Durkheim. They are published, here, together and in full for the first time. The first group of lectures covers the family, as well as general issues in morality and moral education. The second group of lectures, on civic ethics, covers citizenship, democracy, the state, occupational groups, law, and the idea of la patrie. The lectures conclude with a familiar discussion of discipline, and a more original discussion of duties to oneself. The editorial introduction to the lectures explains the circumstances in which they came to light, and discusses issues of authenticity but also of the general role, in Durkheimian studies, of texts variously attributed to Durkheim or based on notes by his students.