The present paper seeks to read out important displacements regarding the understanding of the relation between the social and the individual in the course of Durkheim’s oeuvre. First, I center on Durkheim’s methodological program. I investigate how his insistence on the distinction between the individual and the social goes hand-in-hand with a repressive concept of the social centered on the concept of norms. I then, second, seek to contour an intermediary phase in Durkheim’s work in which the coercive depiction of the social is complemented with a positive one; this phase then contains his ideas of “integration” and of a (positive) form of “attachment” to society. Third, I demonstrate how Durkheim in his late chief work, by opening up for forms of active collective participation, offers a corrective to the early holism and the idea of an overarching and decollectivized society. Fourth, to situate my interpretation of late Durkheim in a contemporary theoretical landscape, I compare my ideas to the approaches to late Durkheim found in, respectively, Randall Collins’ work on Interaction Ritual Chains and in Jeffrey Alexander and collaborators’ so-called Strong Program.
This item's license is: Attribution 4.0 International