Re: Durkheim (resend)

From: Douglas Brooker (
Date: Tue 29 Mar 2005 - 20:35:42 GMT

  • Next message: Keo Ormsby: "Re: Durkheim (resend)"

    Kate Distin wrote:

    > Durkheim: social facts as memes?
    > Sociology is another area to which meme theory might be applied. For
    > over sixty years, critical reception to Émile Durkheim's theory of
    > "social facts" has almost always been adverse. By contrast, the thirty
    > years since Richard Dawkins first introduced memes have yielded
    > generally favourable criticism of his hypothesis. Yet I suggest that
    > the essence of Durkheim's theory bears a striking resemblance to the
    > idea of memes as autonomously existing transmitters of cultural
    > information, and furthermore that to consider his social facts as memes
    > is to resolve their most serious problems.

    Marcel Mauss is worth looking into along these lines. (an early work was co-authored with Durkheim, his uncle).

    His "Essaie sur le Don" is his most recognised work. The discussion includes analysis of the part of the giver of a gift that stays with a gift when it is given and the significance of this 'lien' .

    A collection, "Sociologie et anthropologie" is published by PUF and still in print.

    He developed the idea of the 'total social fact' - writing about "mana"
    (like "truc") and other concepts.

    Very pressed for time, so I have not been able to completely read, let alone add more about this post but hope to return to it at the weekend.

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