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A Note on Durkheim's Creation of Les Formes Élémentaires

William Watts Miller

It is just a basic point that a help with understanding a work is to understand something about the process of its creation. In the case of Les formes élémentaires, it is evident from the lecture-course reading like a first draft of the work, and begun in 1906 (1907f), that the project started life as a concern, above all, with the study of early elementary religion. But even here, the logic of Durkheim’s argument – especially in his critique of animist and naturist theories of early religion – required him to make claims about basic elemental characteristics of all religion. And it is evident from correspondence of 1908, as well as from an article he started to write the same year and got published the following year (1909d), that the project had converted into a concern, above all, with a way to get at and understand basic continuing elemental forms of all religion.

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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.

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Editorial

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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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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In Memoriam

W. S. F. Pickering

William Watts Miller

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'The Dualism of Human Nature' Translators' Note

Irène Eulriet and William Watts Miller

‘The Dualism of Human Nature’ was made available some time ago in English, and this undoubtedly helped to stimulate the mass of commentary that has grown around the essay and made it well-known. But it is time to replace the old translation, since it is so inadequate and fault-ridden. For example, it involves a systematic impulse to change a Durkheimian collective noun such as our will into English individualized plurals, such as ‘our wills’. Or it often cuts things out. Thus it eliminates Durkheim’s key talk of creative effervescence, which merely becomes ‘creativity’. An opposite tendency is to add things in.

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Past Conferences

William Watts Miller and Ronjon Paul Datta

Oxford 22 February 2003

Halifax, Nova Scotia 3 June 2003

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Acknowledgment

W. S. F. Pickering and William Watts Miller

Jacqueline Redding has acted as the journal’s translation consultant ever since Durkheimian Studies / Etudes durkheimiennes published its first volume in a new series in 1995. She was formerly a lecturer in French in the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, and has given the editors great assistance in proof-reading texts in French, in checking up on and evaluating translations into English, and in taking part in debates about translating French words, such as délire, in vol. 5.

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Contributors

N. J. Allen, Roger Cotterell, Mike Hawkins, Jean-Christophe Marcel, Jennifer Mergy, David Moss, Robert Parkin, W. S. F. Pickering, Massimo Rosati, Sue Stedman Jones, and William Watts Miller

Notes on contributors

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Contributors

Louise Child, Ronjon Paul Datta, Mike Gane, Timothy Jenkins, Jean-Christophe Marcel, David Moss, W. S. F. Pickering, William Ramp, Derek Robbins, Raymond de la Rocha Mille, Anne de Sales, Sue Stedman Jones, and William Watts Miller

Notes on contributors