Émile Durkheim (1858-1917) is, along with Max Weber, unquestionably one of the two most important ‘founding gures’ of sociology, as well as a major in uence on contemporary sociologies of religion, culture and society. Outside sociology, however, he also had a huge impact on anthropology, social psychology and criminology, as well as various branches of philosophy. Born in Épinal, France, he grew up in the Jewish community of Alsace-Lorraine and, coming from a long line of rabbis, initially seemed destined for the rabbinate, although he soon determined to abandon the family tradition. Following studies at the College d’Épinal, he was admitted to the École Normale Supérieure in Paris in 1879, studying philosophy and history (Lukes 1973: 39-43). It was here that his interest in the social implications and applications of philosophical thought started to emerge and, a er a period as a philosophy teacher at a lycèe, this interest started to take a distinctively social scienti c form following his rst academic appointment at Bordeaux University (1887). Employed to teach social science and pedagogy, the philosophy of education, in 1895 he was given a chair in social science. is period at Bordeaux also saw the publication of his books e Division of Labor in Society ( 1984), e Rules of Sociological Method ( 1982) and Suicide: A Study in Sociology ( 1952), as well as the establishment of the new, immensely in uential, periodical L’Année Sociologique, through which Durkheim gathered together a new generation of scholars working within a sociological tradition of his own design (Poggi 2000: 3). In 1902, Durkheim moved to the Sorbonne in Paris, where his national and international in uence continued to grow, and where he produced arguably his nest and most important book, e Elementary Forms of Religious Life, in 1912 (1995). e First World War, however, brought a great deal of misfortune and despair to Durkheim: not only did many of the most promising young Durkheimians, including Robert Hertz, lose their lives, but also Durkheim’s son, Paul, was killed in action in 1915. Durkheim died, a broken man, two years later.