By Kenneth Smith
This quantity units out to discover using Émile Durkheim’s idea of the ‘collective attention of society’, and represents the 1st ever book-length therapy of this underexplored subject. working from either a criminological and sociological viewpoint, Kenneth Smith argues that Durkheim’s unique thought needs to be sensitively revised and definitely up-to-date for its actual relevance to return to the fore. significant alterations to Durkheim’s suggestion of the collective attention contain Smith’s compelling arguments that the version doesn't follow to every person both, and that Durkheim’s thought doesn't by any means depend upon what should be referred to as the disciplinary services of society.
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Extra resources for Émile Durkheim and the Collective Consciousness of Society: A Study in Criminology
As far as his study of Suicide is concerned, however, this situation seems much more difficult to explain. Here is a full length empirical study of an important social phenomenon and a clear opportunity for Durkheim to demonstrate his unique sociological method. We might then have expected him to make much more use of this concept – one of the most fundamental concepts of his entire sociology after all – in trying to explain the reasons why the rate of suicide varies so much from one society to another.
Durkheim defines authority as ‘a quality, either actual or imaginary, invested in a being by his relationship with others, by which he is thought to possess powers superior to their own’ (88) and in order to fulfil one’s obligations properly and to act morally Durkheim claims that we must have some appreciation of the authority sui generis that informs morality (34). What Durkheim appears to mean by this claim is that in order to fulfil obligations properly one must accept as legitimate that authority on which they are based (30–31) since, without this, the observance of morality will only ever be token.
Durkheim 1965, 492; emphasis added) It has sometimes been suggested that Durkheim made very little use the concept of the collective or the common consciousness after The Division of Labour, and even that he abandoned this concept altogether in his later writing. The authority for this claim appears to be Steven Lukes (1973, 5). However, as we have already seen, this is certainly not the case as far as his lectures on Moral Education are concerned – delivered between 1902 and 1907 and containing the most detailed exposition of this concept in all his sociology – and this reference alone would therefore seem to be sufficient to refute this claim.