Hüseyin Nail Kubali and Durkheim’s Professional ethics and civic morals


  • Ivan Strenski University of California


Sociology and religion, Durkheim, Émile, 1858-1917, Professional ethics, Turkey -- History, Nationalism, Civil society, Philosophy and religion, Turkey -- Politics, Islam


A swirl of puzzles surrounds a work of Émile Durkheim’s that Jonathan Z. Smith claims is the ‘single most provocative treatment of’ the idea of the sacred in the Durkheimian corpus – Professional Ethics and Civic Morals. Why, one asks, was Durkheim’s work first published in Turkey, especially when the lectures that gave rise to this volume had been delivered in France in the early years of the twentieth century? Of what particular importance was Durkheim for modern Turkish thinkers, and what kinds of thinkers might they be? And, what of this particular work of Durkheim’s? What special purpose, moreover, might have been served by publishing it in Turkey when it was – in 1950? Why was the volume edited by (and who was?) Hüseyin Nail Kubali? What were his motives – both of a scientific kind or of a wider social or political sort? These are the questions that are addressed in this article. As readers will discover, in answering them, a nest of hidden themes is uncovered – a nest that few readers – even those who know the Durkheim corpus – will have anticipated. Not only are Durkheimian interpretations of religion at issue, but also the particular bearing of Durkheimianism on modern Turkey. This link with modern Turkey, in turn, brings to the surface many of the controversial questions now vexing the European Union as it ponders the possibility of Turkish membership of the EU – questions of human rights, civil society, the rule of law, the relation of religion and state, to name just the most relevant to the content of this article.

How to Cite

Strenski, I. (2006). Hüseyin Nail Kubali and Durkheim’s Professional ethics and civic morals. Scripta Instituti Donneriani Aboensis, 19, 358–373. https://doi.org/10.30674/scripta.67317