Founders of Modern Political and Social Thought present critical examinations of the work of major political philosophers and social theorists, assessing both their initial contribution and continuing relevance to politics and society. Each volume provides a clear, accessible, historically-informed account of each thinker's work, focusing on a reassessment of their central ideas and arguments. Founders encourage scholars and students to link their study of classic texts to current debates in political philosophy and social theory. Emile Durkheim can undoubtedly be considered one of the most significant social thinkers of the last one hundred years and his writings continue to attract both applause and controversy throughout the world, not just from sociologists and scholars from related disciplines but also from all those interested in the way modern society operates. In this highly readable and compact introduction to Durkheim's thought, Gianfranco Poggi examines closely all of Durkheim's 'canonical' works and assesses their significance today. Poggi also considers closely the question what did Durkheim mean by 'society'? and assesses Durkheim's contribution to both political sociology and the sociology of law, putting his writings into the context of the generation of European scholars to which he belonged. Poggi's clear and concise reappraisal of this towering figure in the development of modern sociological thought provides an essential overview of his major writings and also illustrates just why Durkheim is still so widely read and debated a century after his death.