Emile Durkheim and Thorstein Veblen on epistemology, cultural lag and social order

History of the Human Sciences 15 (4):51-70 (2002)
Despite their importance to the history of economics and social theory, social scientists and historians pay little heed to the structural similarities as well as the important divergences in the work of French-man Emile Durkheim (1858—1917) and American Thorstein Veblen (1857—1929). Consequently, this article places Durkheim and Veblen in their social and historical context, and then (1) their epistemologies are related to their use of cultural lag to explain the persistence of atavistic continuities in the existing order, (2) their theories of social bonding and integration are compared to explain the meaning as well as the structural differences in their collectivism, and (3) these are linked with the predictive power of their broader socioeconomic theories to forecast the future of Western society. The two men made major contributions to the human sciences and a historical retrospect by way of comparative analysis illuminates these contributions
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DOI 10.1177/0952695102015004681
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