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Social Life and External Regularity: A Comparative Analysis of the Investigative Methods of Durkheim and Weber

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The aim of this paper is to compare Durkheim's and Weber's methodological positions by looking at the different influences at work in the French and German theory schools. It is argued that Durkheim, working from a Comtean tradition, essentially sought to bring sociological subject matter within the confines of a positivist methodology. This methodology, it is argued, principally took the view that laws must be subject to the test of fact and thereby stressed the criterion of observability. Accordingly, most of the programmatic statements Durkheim made about sociological subject matter tended to equate sociological events with external regularity and this may explain Durkheim's use of the claim "consider social facts as things". It is shown

Affiliations: 1: Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3C5


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