Our Année must provide people with a picture of what genuinely sociological production there has been, of its intensity as well as its quality. For this reason, the mediocre products must be noted; they form an element of the whole, in their fashion… [but] if everything must find a place in our Année, the place must be very different [in different cases]. We must concentrate on what is important, fruitful or that can be made fruitful…it is the more or less important residue that can be extracted from the book, whether it takes the form of data (choses) or ideas, which should determine the length of the analysis… We must, don’t you think, reject the current methods of criticism, which are too concerned with seeing the author behind the work, and with ranking talents instead of noting results and their importance. In matters of science, shouldn’t the ranking of men be a simple consequence of ranking what one owes them, whether it be insights or information.
….Our role as critics must be to extract from the works we study the objective residue, that is, the suggestive facts and the fruitful insights - whether they be interesting for their intrinsic value or because of the discussions they evoke. The critic must be the collaborator of the author, his grateful collaborator; for whatever little remains of a book after critical evaluation, that much is gained for science… Since many of [the works with which we have to deal] are not explicitly sociological, we could not be satisfied with giving their contents, with merely expounding, as it were, the materials they contain; as far as was possible, we had to submit them to a preliminary elaboration which would indicate to the reader what information contained in them is useful to the sociologist… (Émile Durkheim quoted in Steven Lukes, Émile Durkheim; His Life and Work: A Historical and Critical Study)
I will be more careful. I promise.