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Durkheim, the Durkheimians, and the Arts

Durkheim, the Durkheimians, and the Arts


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Using a broad definition of the Durkheimian tradition, this book offers the first systematic attempt to explore the Durkheimians’ engagement with art. It focuses on both Durkheim and his contemporaries as well as later thinkers influenced by his work. The first five chapters consider Durkheim’s own exploration of art; the remaining six look at other Durkheimian thinkers, including Marcel Mauss, Henri Hubert, Maurice Halbwachs, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Michel Leiris, and Georges Bataille. The contributors—scholars from a range of theoretical orientations and disciplinary perspectives—are known for having already produced significant contributions to the study of Durkheim. This book will interest not only scholars of Durkheim and his tradition but also those concerned with aesthetic theory and the sociology and history of art.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780857459176
Publisher: Berghahn Books, Incorporated
Publication date: 08/01/2013
Series: Publications of the Durkheim Press
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.75(d)

About the Author

Alexander Tristan Riley is Professor of Sociology at Bucknell University. With the aid of the late Philippe Besnard, he edited the war correspondence of Robert Hertz, Un ethnologue dans les tranchées. He is the author of Godless Intellectuals?: The Intellectual Pursuit of the Sacred Reinvented (Berghahn Books, 2010) and currently he is contemplating a book on literary autobiography, cultural sociology, and the writing of Michel Leiris.

William Watts Miller is editor of Durkheimian Studies/Etudes Durkheimiennes and a member of the board of the British Centre for Durkheimian Studies. He has published extensively in the field, collaborated in translations, and is a member of the team producing a new critical edition of Durkheim's Complete Works. His most recent book is A Durkheimian Quest: Solidarity and the Sacred (Berghahn Books, 2012).

W.S.F. Pickering taught sociology in Canada from 1958 to 1966 and then at Newcastle-upon-Tyne until he retired in 1987. Although his original interest was in the sociology of religion, he later turned to the work of Durkheim. In 1975 he published Durkheim on Religion (Routledge) and in 1984 Durkheim’s Sociology of Religion: Themes and Theories (Routledge). He also contributed to and helped produce other books on Durkheim and his followers. In 1991, he helped found the British Centre of Durkheimian Studies, of which he was the General Secretary.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations


Alexander Riley

Chapter 1. Total Aesthetics: Art and The Elemental Forms

William Watts Miller

Chapter 2. Durkheim, the Arts, and the Moral Sword

W.S.F. Pickering

Chapter 3. Durkheim and Festivals: Art, Effervescence, and Institutions

Jean-Louis Fabiani

Chapter 4. The Power of Imagination and the Economy of Desire: Durkheim and Art

Pierre-Michel Menger

Chapter 5.  Dostoevsky in the Mirror of Durkheim

Donald A. Nielsen

Chapter 6. Durkheim, L’Année sociologique, and Art

Marcel Fournier

Chapter 7. Marcel Mauss on Art and Aesthetics: The Politics of Division, Isolation, and Totality

Michèle Richman           

Chapter 8.  Too Marvelous for Words...: Maurice Halbwachs, Kansas City Jazz, and the Language of Music

Sarah Daynes

Chapter 9. Total Art – The Influence of the Durkheim School on Claude Lévi-Strauss’s Reflections on Art and Classification

Stephan Moebius and Frithjof Nungesser

Chapter 10.  Sex, Death, the Other, and Art: The Search for Mythic Life in the Work of Michel Leiris

Alexander Riley

Chapter 11. Apophasis in Representation: Georges Bataille and the Aesthetics and Ethics of the Negative

S. Romi Mukherjee

Chapter 12. Acéphale/Parsifal: Georges Bataille contra Wagner

Claudine Frank


Notes on Contributors


Customer Reviews