Durkheim: Essays on Morals and Education

By Emile Durkheim and W.S.F. Pickering (editor)

A selection of the most important writings of the great French sociologist on ethics and education, including many pieces previously unavailable in English.

ISBN: 9780227174210


Émile Durkheim, whose writings still exert a great influence over sociological thought, has often been called the father of the sociology of education. He lectured extensively on the subject, and was convinced of its necessary place in social theory. But his work cannot be fully understood unless it is realised that he had an over-riding concern for morals. He saw the relationship between morals and education as almost that of theory to practice, yet he never wrote a systematic work on the subject of morals, although for some time he had planned such a book and managed just before he died in 1917 to write the opening introduction.

This collection of Durkheim’s work on morals and education brings together many items translated into English for the first time. A wide selection of articles, reviews and discussions has been included for translation in this book, covering subjects, in morals, defining morals, the science of morality, moral facts, relativism, the relation of science to morality; and in education, problems of definition, childhood, sex education, Rousseau’s Émile, teaching secular morality and the effectiveness of moral doctrines. The book also includes an introduction to each of the two sections, as well as bibliographies, which deal with Durkheim’s own works on morals and education, together with those covering references to his writings on contributions by other authors.

Additional information

Dimensions 216 × 140 mm
Pages 230

Trade Information JPOD

About the Author

The Revd Dr William S.F. Pickering has been an Anglican priest since 1950, and for twenty years was a lecturer in Sociology at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. He was the General Secretary of the British Centre for Durkheimian Studies, which he helped to found in 1991. It is based in the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Oxford University.

He has written and edited a number of books on Durkheim and his followers, as well as many articles. Among his other publications are Sociology and Theology: Alliance and Conflict (Harvester Press, 1980), A Social History of the Diocese of Newcastle 1882-1982 (Oriel Press, 1981), The Hutterites (Ward Lock Educational, 1982) and Anglo-Catholicism: A Study in Religious Ambiguity, which has also been reprinted by James Clarke and Co Ltd.


The translations
Notation and bibliographies

Part I: Morals
Introduction by W.S.F. Pickering
1. 1904a(5) Review ‘Lévy-Bruhl, La Morale et la science des moeurs
2. 1905b Contribution to ‘Morality without God: an attempt to find a collectivist solution’
3. 1906a(11) Review ‘Albert Bayet, La Morale scientifique: essai sur les applications
     morales des sciences sociologiques

4. 1907a(10) Review ‘Westermarck, The Origin and Development of the Moral Ideas, vol. I’
5. 1908a(2) A discussion on positive morality: the issue of rationality in ethics
6. 1910b A discussion on the notion of social equality
7. 1920a ‘Introduction to ethics’

Part II: Education
Introduction by W.S.F. Pickering
8. 1904a(40) and (41) Review ‘Durkheim, “Pédagogie et sociologie” and Paul Barth,
     “Die Geschichte der Erziehung in soziologischer Beleuchtung”‘
9. 1909a(2) A discussion on the effectiveness of moral doctrines
10. 1911a A discussion on sex education
11. 1911c(2) ‘Childhood’
12. 1912b A discussion on the boarding school and the New School
13. 1916c ‘The moral greatness of France and the school of the future’
14. 1919a ‘Rousseau on educational theory’


Name Index
Subject Index


Endorsements and Reviews

The substantial introductions and notes by the editor William Pickering bring an indispensable amount of contextualization and precision … Sociologists and completists in the history of sociology will find here many obscure textes which are not without merit.
Yves Laberge, in Reviews in Religion & Theology, Vol 21, Issue 4,

W.S.F. Pickering has made available to the English speaking-world Emile Durkheim’s works in Morals and Education. As the title indicates, this book is not about Durkheim, but rather, Pickering brings together original texts translated by H.L. Sutcliffe. The structure of Pickering’s book is of great value for research on Durkheim as well as moral philosophy and philosophy of education. … Pickering’s edition is a valuable work in Durkheim scholarship because of the material that Pickering puts together in the two parts of the book, Education and Morals. The selected essays provide a broad perspective on Durkheim’s thought.
David Bellusci OP, in Science et Esprit, Vol 66, Issue 3