Emile Durkheim (April 15, 1858 - November 15, 1917) was a founder of the science of sociology, along with Max Weber. He was also the founder of the first journal devoted to social science, the Année Sociologique.
Durkheim was born in Epinal, France. His best-known work is the book Suicide, published in 1897. In it, he explores the differing suicide rates among Protestants and Catholics. His answer to this problem lies in the stronger social control among Catholics. It was also in this work that he developed his views of anomie. He coined the sociological term, social facts.
Durkheim was far from hostile to religion. On the contrary, he considered it an essential part of society, itself essential for life. He explores religion further in his 1912 book, Elementary Forms of the Religious Life.
To oversimplify matters, Durkheim argued that society itself becomes God, with all that entails.
See also: suicide, sociology, social fact, Max Weber, Karl Marx, Gabriel Tarde.