durkheim viva voce

I just attended the American Sociological Association Meetings in San Francisco, and while there my friend Marion Fourcade told me about a remarkable little piece of sociological history. It’s an audio recording of Émile Durkheim delivering a talk.

Emile Durkheim recorded in 1911 in Bologna.

Emile Durkheim recorded in 1911 in Bologna.

I had no idea such a thing existed. The recording is about two and a half minutes long. It’s a fragment of a piece titled Jugements de valeur et jugements de réalité, which you can read in French here. It was recorded in 1911 at a meeting in Bologna, which I think is one of only quite few times that Durkheim left France in order to attend a conference. Here it is. (There’s a short bit of dead silence at the beginning.)

(If you don’t see the player, download the clip directly).

The original is held at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. Here’s the catalog entry for the recording. I think what’s needed to top this is maybe some decent video footage of Marx’s speech on the anniversary of the people’s paper.


Written by Kieran

August 21, 2014 at 5:15 pm

Posted in sociology

4 Responses

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  1. This is going to sound crazy, but he sounds more…French than I imagined. It is not like I expected a yiddish accent, just something a little less standard (to my semi-trained ear).



    August 21, 2014 at 8:29 pm

  2. I had the same reaction. It’s amazing how much he sounds just like a normal French guy giving a formal talk. A bit of a different intonation 100 years ago, but so normal sounding! I guess I never though what I would expect Durkheim to sound like. Thanks for posting.


    Steve Vaisey

    August 22, 2014 at 12:56 am

  3. It’s Greek to me but has opened me up to the work of Émile Durkheim. I’m 59 and this is like maybe the second time in my life that I have ever heard of him. I have been coming to this site and learning a great deal about sociology. It’s all very interesting and fascinating. .I have purchased several copies of “True Believer by Eric Hoffer and handed those out to friends. Amusingly enough I found several copies at the local “Good Will” for 50 cents apiece. Thank you for trying to disseminate sensible and useful knowledge.



    August 22, 2014 at 1:27 pm

  4. […] Encontré esto dando una vuelta por OrgTheory, más precisamente en la entrada Durkheim viva voce, pero está en miles de sitios y […]


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