Re: Durkheim (resend)

From: Kate Distin (
Date: Wed 30 Mar 2005 - 12:22:02 GMT

  • Next message: Kate Distin: "Re: Durkheim (resend)"

    Douglas Brooker wrote:
    > 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.

    Thank you for introducing me to this - having followed your link I'm now keen to read "The Gift" in particular.


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