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Suffering and Evil: The Durkheimian Legacy

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A volume in the Publications of the Durkheim Press series

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Suffering and Evil

The Durkheimian Legacy

Edited by W. S. F. Pickering† and Massimo Rosati†
Published in Association with the Durkheim Press

204 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-84545-519-4 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (October 2008)

ISBN  978-0-85745-645-8 $29.95/£23.95 Pb Published (April 2012)

eISBN 978-1-84545-859-1 eBook

Hb Pb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook! $29.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“…an impressive collection that makes a strong contribution to sociological theory and Durkheimian scholarship. Its particular strength is how it makes available the robustness and enduring importance of Durkheim’s rich conceptual lexicon…Selected chapters also offer substantial and theoretically complex contributions to more specialized areas of inquire…Theoretically sophisticates, yet relatively accessible, this volume is particularly appropriate for inclusion in advanced undergraduate theory courses or graduate level seminars.” • Canadian Journal of Sociology/Cahiers canadiens de sociologie


Until recently the subject of suffering and evil was neglected in the sociological world and was almost absent in Durkheimian studies as well. This book aims to fill the gap, with particular reference to the Durkheimian tradition, by exploring the different meanings that the concepts of evil and suffering have in Durkheim's works, together with the general role they play in his sociology. It also examines the meanings and roles of these concepts in relation to suffering and evil in the work of other authors within the group of the Année sociologique up until the beginning of World War II. Finally, the Durkheimian legacy in its wider aspects is assessed, with particular reference to the importance of the Durkheimian categories in understanding and conceptualizing contemporary forms of evil and suffering.

W. S. F. Pickering was a founding member in 1991, and then General Secretary, of the British Centre for Durkheimian Studies in the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Oxford University. Since the 1970s wrote, edited and helped translate a number of books on Durkheim and his disciples, including Durkheim’s Sociology of Religion: Themes and Theories (1984).

Massimo Rosati† is Associate Professor at University of Rome Tor Vergata, where he teaches Sociology. He has published articles on Durkheim and contemporary social theory. He is the editor of the new Italian edition of Durkheim’s The Elementary Forms of Religious Life and his latest book is Ritual and the Sacred: A Neo-Durkheimian Analysis of Politics, Religion and the Self (2009).

Subject: Sociology Theory and Methodology




Introduction: Suffering, Evil and Durkheimian Sociology: Filling a Gap
W.S.F. Pickering and Massimo Rosati

Reflections on the Death of Emile Durkheim
W.S.F. Pickering


Chapter 1. Le Suicide and Psychological Suffering
Sophie Jankélévitch

Chapter 2. Suffering and Evil in the Elementary Forms
Massimo Rosati

Chapter 3. Some Concepts of ‘Evil’ in Durkheim’s Thought
Giovanni Paoletti

Chapter 4. Suffering to Become Human: A Durkheimian Perspective
Mark S. Cladis


Chapter 5. Robert Hertz on Suffering and Evil: The Negative Processes of Social Life and Their Resolution
Robert Parkin

Chapter 6. Le Malin Génie: Durkheim, Bataille and the Prospect of a Sociology of Evil
William Ramp

Chapter 7. Evil and Collective Responsibility: The Durkheimian Legacy and Contemporary Debates
Massimo Rosati

Chapter 8. The Hague Tribunal: Critical Reflections Prompted by Durkheim’s Remarks on Suffering
John B. Allcock

Chapter 9. Looking Backwards and to the Future
W.S.F. Pickering

Notes on Contributors

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