After all of chapter one’s readings, I can now understand why so many people choose it as their major and dedicate their lives to this important work. While many of the early sociologists, such as Harriet Martineau, have influenced the subject we now study, the person who caught my attention most was Emile Durkheim. Not only did he open society’s eyes to many previously insignificant issues, Durkheim established sociology as an academic area of study.
Education was a very important accomplishment of Emile Durkheim. In 1895, he opened the first department of sociology at the University of Bordeaux. Although someone else may have made sociology as an academic discipline years later, he allowed students in his time to discover the subject and possibly create new theories. Durkheim also believed sociologists could only study if they look at the culture, laws and religion within a society, as well as many other factors. Not only did he believe that society could be studied as a whole, he also believed societies could be determined as healthy or pathological. This meant that healthy societies are stable. His theories shaped many future sociologists work and theories.
In addition to opening the first sociology department, Durkheim wrote a revolutionary article titled Suicide. In his article, he discussed suicide relating to social influences rather than as an “individual phenomenon.” (Openstax, 2015, p. 12) Looking into the religious factors among the statistics was his main focus. Durkheim found the differences between Catholic and Protestant communities were due to “socioreligious forces” instead of individual motives. (Openstax, 2015, p. 13)
In my opinion, Emile Durkheim shaped the way sociology is today. Rather than individual forces being at play in society, there are many social factors, or social laws at play. These laws affect people in many aspects in their life. Durkheim gave reason to previously unstudied relationships between society and communities.