The Concept of Personality in Durkheim-----Generality, Commonness, Abstractness, and Universality

Saturday, 21 July 2018: 10:30
Oral Presentation
Ayako OZEKI, Wakayama University, Japan
Emil Durkheim, the founder of sociology, supposed the "society" as a domain of investigation and proposed the methodology of "sociology" which is applicable to the society. In this way, he declared the independence of sociology. This presentation is an attempt to reexamine his sphere of study and his analytical method by his concept of "personality."

First, about the domain of "society", as is generally known, Durkheim declared to regard it as a “thing” external to the individual. For that purpose, he made the subject of his research not an existential “person” who has vivid individuality but anonym “personality.” furthermore, he introduced an expression of “impersonal personality” seemingly contradictory.

Secondly, about sociological methodology, Durkheim emphasizes the scientificness of sociology. For him, “scientific” method means to extract the common character from each concrete things and to abstract the other elements. The point that this presentation will give attention is “to be general, is it the synonym of to be universal?” Durkheim considers that social "science" must observe, examine, and analyze the general human person, rather than individual person. However, such generality acquired by extracting empirical scientifically the element common to man, is it the universal explication of the essence of humanity? Does commonness guarantee universality? Does abstractness guarantee truthfulness?

In this presentation I will question again the appropriateness both of the Durkheimian idea of personality and the scientific methodology to elucidate it.