Durkheim on Happiness

Such an insightful read Thank you.

Social Health

durkheim“No living being can be happy or even exist unless his needs are sufficiently proportioned to his means.”
Émile Durkheim

Émile Durkheim, one of the founding fathers of sociology, has developed a reputation as being dry, detached, or no longer relevant in light of the trendy post-structural theorists. I used to think this as well until I read his book, Suicide. Before I knew it, I was hooked on Durkheim. Parts of his work can be extremely engaging and many of his critiques are more relevant today than ever before!

In his discussion of ‘anomie’, Durkheim states that the key to happiness is having our needs proportionate to our means. According to Durkheim our “needs” are our desires. As humans, our desires are infinite and insatiable, unless regulated by social forces. Our “means” are the ability to achieve our goals to satisfy our desire. Contrary to the…

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