Professional Ethics and Civic Morals

by Emile Durkheim

Series: Routledge Classics

Subject categories
ISBNs
  • 9781138601888
  • 9780429841101
  • 9780429841095

Émile Durkheim is one of the founding fathers of sociology and Professional Ethics and Civic Morals is one of his most neglected yet insightful works. Durkheim's view that the instability of industrial society was connected to the decline of religion and his characterization of the state as the ultimate moral force in society reveal his lifelong engagement with the relationship between the individual and society.

In Professional Ethics and Civic Morals Durkheim poses a major question: given the negative social consequences of unfettered markets, which caused what he termed ‘anomie’, how is the state to reconcile morality with the market? Durkheim argues that the answer is to be found in the evolution of a civil religion, in the form of professional codes and civic values, which would counteract the effects of individualism, just as guilds had regulated medieval economic life.

Arguing that the state has a vital role to play in moral life and that morals are at bottom social facts – a controversial position which drew considerable criticism – Durkheim also argues that the state had a duty to protect the rights of the individual, via a form of cosmopolitan patriotism.

Durkheim also articulates a highly original and critical interpretation of the rules around property and inheritance – a perspective which resonates with debates about inequality and the redistribution of wealth today.

Included in this Routledge Classics edition is a new introduction by Bryan S.Turner, placing Durkheim in contemporary context and outlining the key tenets of Professional Ethics and Civic Morals.


  • Taylor and Francis; September 2018
  • ISBN: 9780429841101
  • Edition: 1
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF or secure ePub format
  • Title: Professional Ethics and Civic Morals
  • Series: Routledge Classics
  • Author: Emile Durkheim
  • Imprint: Routledge
Subject categories
ISBNs
  • 9781138601888
  • 9780429841101
  • 9780429841095

In The Press

‘…one cannot help realizing that had the social sciences paid more attention to Durkheim half a century or so ago, a good many false steps might have been saved and we might be much further along than we are today. Even if his point of view in its entirety may not be acceptable, Durkheim had insights well ahead of his age.’ Annual Review of Anthropology


About The Author

Émile Durkheim (1858-1917) was one of the founders of sociology and social anthropology. He also believed that education was vitally important in sustaining a moral life and was deeply involved in the campaign for educational reform in France.