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The Jews, the Revolution, and the Old Regime in French Anti-Semitism and Durkheim's Sociology

Chad Alan Goldberg
Sociological Theory
Vol. 29, No. 4 (December 2011), pp. 248-271
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23076393
Page Count: 24
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The Jews, the Revolution, and the Old Regime in French Anti-Semitism and Durkheim's Sociology
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Abstract

The relationship between European sociology and European anti-Semitism in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries is investigated through a case study of one sociologist, Émile Durkheim, in a single country, France. Reactionary and radical forms of anti-Semitism are distinguished and contrasted to Durkheim's sociological perspective. Durkheim's remarks about the Jews directly addressed anti-Semitic claims about them, their role in French society, and their relationship to modernity. At the same time, Durkheim was engaged in a reinterpretation of the French Revolution and its legacies that indirectly challenged other tenets of French anti-Semitism. In sum, Durkheim's work contains direct and indirect responses to reactionary and radical forms of anti-Semitism, and together these responses form a coherent alternative vision of the relationship between modernity and the Jews.

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