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Emergence Through Convergence

We begin with the issue and enigma of social order and, in particular, Durkheim’s ideas about solidarity and social facts. The introductory essay (“This Deserted Island Is Out of Order”) reflects on William Golding’s brilliant Lord of the Flies and, in particular, how social order was created and later destroyed by the boys on the island. Excerpts from Durkheim include his most famous works; also included are pieces from Talcott Parsons and Edward Shils on structural–functionalism, Harold Garfinkel on the ordering of moment-to-moment interactions, and Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann on the “social construction of reality” and the institutionalization of everyday life. These contemporary pieces extend Durkheim’s ideas on how social institutions that get constructed by individuals eventually take on lives of their own, whether it is at the largest of scales like law and religion or at a scale much smaller, such as our day-to-day routines and conversations.


  • Anomie
  • Sacred and Profane
  • Social Solidarity
  • Suicide
  • Dramaturgy
  • Ethnomethodology
  • Phenomenology
  • Structural-functionalism

Writing Out Loud

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(Émile Durkheim)
(Harold Garfinkel)
(Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann)

Interactive Readings

(Emile Durkheim)