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"Émile Durkheim: A Biography" by Marcel Fournier

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Keywords: Archives, context, biography, Lukes, lectures, networks.

This review presents and defends Marcel Fournier's biographical perspective applied to Durkheim, following a similar piece of work on Mauss in 1994. Fournier's style emphasizes the man, the various contexts (political, religious, intellectual, academic), the ideas, and at the same time shows a real taste for archives, for the intensive use of private correspondence and thus sheds new light on Durkheim's complex works, of which he gives a comprehensive and chronological account. This English translation of his Durkheim [Fayard 2007] fights with Steven Lukes's classic intellectual biography of Durkheim, questioning the inevitably excessive monopoly it has been holding since 1972 and offering a complementary approach.

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