Le Play, Frédéric
Le Play, Frédéric
Frédéric Le Play (1806–1882), French sociologist, is best remembered for his development of a method of research and data presentation known as the monographic method and for his classification of families into patriarchal, stem, and unstable types. His ideas had an important influence on European sociology from about 1860 to 1940, and his work is still a major inspiration to Roman Catholic sociologists. Many concepts developed by Durkheim can be found in their initial crude form in Le Play’s work.
Le Play was born in Normandy, the son of a petty customs officer. His father died when Le Play was only five, and shortly afterward he went to live with a rich uncle in Paris. Here, as he grew up, he became an avid listener to the intellectual discussions that took place in his uncle’s salon. Le Play, however, was never to forget the harbor town of his birth. He seems to have greatly idealized the frugal existence his family led during the difficult years of the Napoleonic blockade; this may help to explain why, when he came to consider such problems as the maintenance of order, the avoidance of violence, and the demoralization of the poor, it was not in the increase of the standard of living that he saw the solution but in the strengthening of family ties.
Le Play wrote his main work, Les ouvriers européens (1855), between 1829 and 1855. At that time a large section of the bourgeoisie had developed a fairly durable synthesis of aristocratic and bourgeois values. Abandoning Voltairean skepticism, it had adopted a largely ceremonial Catholicism, tempered by mild anticlericalism and theological indifference. The only dynamic elements in this outlook were respect for hard work and a stress on the need for rootedness (enracinement) in the locality of one’s birth—a rootedness consecrated by the ownership of private property.
Few counterinfluences disturbed this prevailing climate of thought. The followers of Saint-Simon still constituted a very articulate intellectual minority, and it was in reaction to one of them, with whom Le Play traveled through Europe, that Le Play was led to develop and systematize the beliefs and attitudes instilled by his upbringing. For the Saint-Simonians, centralist and deductive in their approach, social disorder and pauperism were to be solved through the complete reintegration of society around the industrial order. Property was to be controlled by the industrialists (the creators of wealth), rather than by inheritors, and the industrialists were to be helped—“guided,” Auguste Comte would say—by the priests of the positive science of society. The problem of power relations would be solved by the obviousness of right reason. Reason would organize the world, control nature, and promote progress, with the happiness of the individual following naturally from the welfare of society.
Le Play rejected this technocratic and optimistic view. He decided that there is no such thing as unilinear social progress—there can only be cycles of prosperity and corruption, the former inevitably engendering the latter. People in simple societies, like the fishermen of his childhood or the gentle folk of the Harz, may attain peace and contentment, but people in complex societies cannot escape strife and misery. Le Play believed that man has always known that the supreme good lies in social peace, on the one hand, and moral conduct, on the other; this was codified once and for all in the Decalogue. How, then, can one speak of inevitable progress when the principles of the Decalogue may have been followed in earlier periods of history only to be ignored in later ones? The best that could happen would be a revival of what has always been acknowledged to be the truth. The happiness of man does not reside in increased comforts and education but in recognizing the soundness of these principles of good conduct, in spite of the seductiveness of false doctrines, and in conforming his life to them.
It is interesting to note the dual orientation of Le Play’s thought. There is, on the one hand, the importance of having the right ideas—a typical French approach, which culminated in the concept of the idea-force of the late-nineteenth-century psychologists and which was not without influence even on Durkheim. And yet, on the other hand, there is the belief in the effectiveness of sheer coercion when practiced by the righteous to preserve lesser men from temptation. It reflects the Roman Catholic oscillation between the stress on individual free will and the need for the church to protect man from himself. The function of the social scientist is to fight against false doctrines and through the use of the scientific method to prove the soundness of the simple eternal truths. Another interesting aspect of Le Play’s thought, differentiating it from Saint-Simon’s, Comte’s, or Tocqueville’s, is its resolutely homocentric quality: he focused upon the problem of individual happiness—or salvation, as a Puritan might say—rather than upon the “utility of the community,” as Pareto was to phrase it. The use of the word “happiness” (bonheur) is not accidental either, and Durkheim used this concept later in his discussion of anomie: bonheur is a state of inner harmony, with a definite sensualist tonality, rather than an external goal, like salvation. And bonheur is to be gained through control over man’s essentially base nature (Durkheim would later speak, more neutrally, of the animal nature of man in contrast to his social nature). To achieve this control, man has as allies a divine force, the grace of God, and a social force, the family. When population size and density reach a certain level, thereby creating more complex problems of control (the exact terms of the equation are left unclear, but the critical level seems related to a more complex division of labor), the church and the state are to assist the family in its task. Insofar as men acting collectively can have any impact upon the happiness of the individual, they can do so only through the strengthening of the family.
Since industrialization had created pauperism and a rootless, marginal type of working class, the members of which were at the mercy of their base passions, the control and reintegration of that working class into the community of the righteous would be secured only by the consolidation of the working-class family and, more immediately, by its assimilation into the entrepreneur’s family through the institution of patronage. Then the individual worker and his kin would have once more an opportunity for bonheur. Where Durkheim was to offer the professional organization as a means of alleviating the anomie that prevailed in economic life—a recommendation commonly made by French intellectuals, unless they belonged to the somewhat marginal Manchesterian group of Molinari—Le Play offered the family firm, in which the sting of the power relationship was removed by the fusion, in paternal-type relationships, of power with love. The rootlessness of the urban working class might be overcome through the device of permanent labor contracts and the fostering of property ownership by workers.
Le Play’s theoretical interest in the variety of income sources in the workingman’s budget (see Parsons et al. 1961, pp. 457-459) not only shows he rejected on empirical grounds the definition of working-class status as the nonownership of the means of production but also suggests his concern for a program of social action. The budgets itemized by Le Play often show the worker’s family securing “profits” from home industries of which family members are the sole customers (owning a cow, rather than buying milk on the open market). Ideally, instead of private property being abolished, as advocated by the socialists, its ownership should be diffused, and more immediately, the workers should be encouraged and assisted by the entrepreneur in securing home ownership, since the latter is strategic to family stability.
Le Play’s conception of the way in which the industrial world should be organized fitted very well with the romanticized version of the French family firm. He believed that in return for fealty and a nonbargaining approach to the labor contract, the family firm protected the worker from the vagaries of the market, through a conservative investment and sales policy—restricting expansion in times of boom and stretching out employment in times of depression, protecting the worker’s family from want by provision of easily purchased homes and gardens and free social services.
The function of the employer, according to Le Play, was not so much to raise the standard of living of the worker as to provide him with moral leadership, help him acquire private property, and stimulate in him “the respect of the laws governing the family” (1864, vol. 2, p. 28). Property, in this context, whether house, land, or factory, is a visible symbol of the family, of its continuity and its moral fervor, rather than a mere means of production. Complete testamentary freedom is necessary to permit the transmission of family property, in its entirety, to the most deserving heir and, even more important, to prevent the destruction of the stability of the family itself. Not only may a parceled-out homestead be economically unviable but the breaking up of the estate will foster a break in the sibling solidarity, so indispensable to the preservation of the sound family structures, i.e., the patriarchal family and the stem family (for definitions, see below).
Le Play realized that the preservation of integral estates, the moral importance of which he had established, was in conflict with rules of the Code Civil, which enforce practically equal division among heirs. In his opinion, families faced with this dilemma had resolved it through a reduction in their fecundity, so that equal division would not destroy completely the holdings accumulated through years of hard work and thrift. This is his explanation for the decline of the French birth rate.
This deceptively simple mechanism—a bad decision by jurists may have widespread consequences for the reproduction policy of millions of families— underlines Le Play’s belief in the power of good or bad political decisions to effect broad changes in the society in a one-way causal chain. Although this attribution of far-reaching demographic con-sequences to the Code Civil became widely popular, it was, in the main, erroneous. The tendency to divide estates equally had existed in French families prior to the enactment of the Code Civil. Even aristocratic families, before the French Revolution, as Le Play’s disciple Paul de Rousiers showed in the history of his own family (1934), tended to give equal shares to their children: Equal love for one’s children must be symbolized by equal shares of property. Therefore, it was not inheritance laws that were responsible for the restriction of fecundity—such laws could be bypassed by any father who was able to make his children internalize his own conception of the importance of integral estates—but instead the relatively high degree of social mobility present in French society after the revolution.
Nevertheless, we can readily understand the great success of Le Play’s ideas among the provincial aristocracy and among that section of the bourgeoisie which aspired to assimilate aristocratic patterns and protect its dynasties from the vagaries of the market and the competition of “upstarts.” Strictures against the growth of central state power, suspicion of intellectuals, respect for local notables, belief that men are born unequal in their capacity to resist evil or do good—all this was highly pleasing to the bien-pensants. No wonder that for a century Le Playism has been a basic ideology for that group, becoming a major element in the development of one brand of Christian socialism; it is a most plausible version of conservative mythology, and its influence extended to Russia, Great Britain, Holland, Germany, and French Canada.
So far we have dealt only with the ideological component in Le Play’s work. But important though this is, it should not be allowed to obscure Le Play’s major contributions to the growth of sociology as a science. These contributions cover three major areas: the theory of social control, the theory of social change, and research methodology.
For Le Play, the family is the chief agency of socialization and social control. The chances for the abuse of power that are inherent in any system of social control are here limited by the love of the parents for their children, who, in return, endure frustration more easily when it is meaningfully related to the family’s welfare. The church and the state can at best only assist or complete the work done by the family in checking the base impulses of the child’s raw nature. Indeed, the weaker the central government, the better is the opportunity for the family to develop its authority and improve its performance.
Le Play distinguished three main types of family structure: the patriarchal family; the unstable family; and an intermediate type, the stem family. In the patriarchal family the father characteristically keeps near him all his married sons and exercises supreme authority over them and their children. Property remains communal. The patriarch directs all work and accumulates whatever savings can be gathered once the traditional needs of all family members have been satisfied. Le Play saw this type of family as common among the pastoral peoples of the Orient, the Russian peasantry, and the Slavs of central Europe.
Le Play’s unstable family resembles what is today called the isolated nuclear family. It is un-stable because it has little resiliency in the face of economic hardship. It is typical of the industrial working class and is also to be found among the upper classes, mainly because of successional laws that compel the division of estates among heirs. Although this type of family permits a brilliant individual to gain great success, it compounds the risk of failure for the untalented.
The stem family is a type of patriarchal family in which only one of the heirs is retained in the family homestead; the others receive some form of dowry that enables them to establish themselves elsewhere. Nevertheless, for those who leave, the family homestead remains a ceremonial center, as well as a port in a storm. Thus, the stem family combines some of the flexibility and recognition of talent of the unstable family with the continuity and security of the patriarchal family.
Le Play’s theory of social change is essentially dualistic. On the one hand, he attached enormous importance to beliefs and ideas; on the other, he seemed to stress a sort of technological determinism, rooted in the geographic environment.
Religious belief was given an especially important part in Le Play’s theory of social change, although differences between individual doctrines were of little consequence to him. All human societies, he asserted, accept some form of the Decalogue, belief in which is a fundamental condition for the maintenance of order and solidarity. When these beliefs weaken, the society suffers—and when they vanish, the society vanishes with them. The diffusion of areligious and/or antireligious doctrines by intellectuals was, therefore, a major source of social disorganization; so were erroneous laws regarding succession, which made it difficult for families to maintain the continuity of the family estate; or political decisions such as those of Louis xiv regarding the centralization of the French state; or beliefs, such as Rousseau’s, in the inherent goodness of human nature. Such errors only show man incapable, of his own free will, of availing himself of the wisdom contained in the Decalogue. But these errors are a contingent factor, like the presence or absence of elite personalities—Plato’s “divine men”—who create peace and order around them (and whom Le Play thought to be the best sources of information for the researcher). What can be taken for granted is that men will remain vulnerable to these errors, as well as remaining unequal in their capacity to create harmony around them.
The only causal process in history of which Le Play was certain was that prosperity always leads to the corruption of the elites, which leads in turn to the corruption of society. Corrupt social orders are purged by wars, which permit the more virtuous populations to assume political control over the more corrupt ones. The measure of this corruption is essentially the decline of paternal authority and the move away from the patriarchal and stem forms of family pattern toward the un-stable form. Le Play’s theory of social change be-longs with the pessimistic, cyclical theories rather than with the optimistic, unilinear ones.
In contrast to the religious factor in social change or the impact of leadership and prosperity—which are essentially unpredictable in their incidence, if not in their consequences—the relationship between the family and its physical environment, as mediated by work patterns, seems to provide causal regularities susceptible of scientific inquiry. Steppe areas tend to produce stable patriarchal families; coastal fishing areas, stem families; and forests, unstable families (unless there happens to be rational exploitation of timber resources). Agriculture, if combined with proper succession laws, permits patriarchal families but usually produces stem families. The factory system, on the other hand, encourages unstable families among its workers, especially if the entrepreneurs do not ful-fill their obligations of patronage. This was a major source of corruption in the prosperity engendered by industrialization.
The monographic method is usually considered to be Le Play’s unique contribution to the development of social science. Indeed, this method marks a twofold departure from the prevailing type of social science writing: first, it stresses immediate contact with the field data, collected with an eye to measurement, rather than relying on historical data or shrewd observations, as did Tocqueville or Taine; second, as Sorokin pointed out (1928, pp. 63–98), it introduces a selective principle for the collation and presentation of data that is derived from a theoretical schema—the primacy of family relationships in controlling behavior, the dependence of family relationships upon certain aspects of the environment and especially upon those which determine the type of work the family engages in, and the belief that all crucial family activities express themselves in a monetary form, which can be represented as a budget item.
No doubt the monographic method developed from the type of systematic reports that students of the School of Mines were supposed to make on their field trips, with emphasis upon those items which could be tabulated and counted. Another intellectual influence was the surveys and inquiries which were commissioned by the parliaments of France and Great Britain. And about the same time Le Play began his field work, Villermé was conducting his inquiries on poverty in French cities.
The unique thing about Le Play’s method is that his work contains the beginning of statistical techniques which later led to sampling, as well as the beginning of index construction. (The family budget was used because it permitted accurate computation, and the rigorous itemization of budgets is probably the reason why the Ouvriers europeens received a prize from the Academic des Sciences in 1855). However, the monographic method, as Le Play used it, was in fact a rejection of the system building of Saint-Simon and Comte, rather than an effective commitment to inductive and experimental thought. Le Play was turning the positivist approach against its inventors because he believed that in his day only scientific descriptions of social realities would render self-evident the one way to social harmony and individual happiness. For him social science was not a cumulative body of theoretical propositions; it was simply a way to make evident the eternal laws of social peace. If abstract reasoning should lead to statements that contradict these laws, then the reasoning must be false. And although Le Play at one time seemed to draw an analogy between fact gathering and parliamentary representation, he did not see the necessity for systematic sampling, because he felt that a few monographs were sufficient to convince the reader of the correctness of these basic moral laws. The accumulation of data is more a rhetorical device than an attempt at inductive proof. In order to verify the results of direct observation, one should consult with local leaders, who are best equipped to describe and interpret local customs and events.
The paradox of Le Play’s methodology is that it is the invention of an antiempiricist. This inherent contradiction may explain why it failed to make as significant an impact upon scientific sociology as one might have expected.
After the Ouvriers européens, Le Play turned essentially to propagandizing for social reform. Although he invoked the authority of the scientific method, rather than its logic, it is likely that he did render social science an important service by making the field of study a respectable one for the gentleman scholar, even though it meant contact with the lower classes in a context that precluded appropriate deference.
Le Play’s follower Henri de Tourville was to complete the monographic method in 1886 by drawing up a “nomenclature”—a sort of sequential check list for describing the relationship of the family to its social and physical environment. The items to be covered were place, work, property system, forms of wealth, remuneration, savings, and the major social categories and organizations with which the family must deal—neighborhood, formal organizations, community, city, province, state, racial group —in essence, the outline of what was to become known as the community study.
However, the duality of Le Play’s thought— idealist in its emphasis upon religious values, positivist in its emphasis upon geography and technology—led in 1886 to a split between his followers. The idealist component was developed into a predicating type of analysis, most notably by Charles de Ribbe, and again, more recently, into a philosophical-aesthetic type of essay writing, best exemplified by the work of Jean Lacroix.
The positivist group, represented by Tourville, de Rousiers, Robert Pinot, and Edmond Demolins, focused much more on the elements of a theory of the social system that were already implicit in the famous “nomenclature.” Some, like Demolins, became much more openly positivist and stressed the geographical aspect of Le Play’s theory of social change. They refused to condemn the industrial order as the source of social disorganization and came to challenge the belief that the stem family was the highest form of moral life. For them the model family was the “particularist” type, which they saw predominating in Scandinavian and Anglo-Saxon countries and which is essentially an optimistic version of what we would now call the isolated nuclear family. De Rousiers in particular, who visited the United States, gave the American family a good share of the credit for American enterprise and progress (see 1892). The analysis made by the positivist group of the relations between family type, on the one hand, and forms of government, types of economy and managerial policies, general styles of formal and informal organizations, and the school system, on the other, are often amazingly insightful and modern in content.
Neither wing of the Le Play school, however, had much impact upon French academic sociology, which was controlled by middle-class, anticlerical Durkheimians. The Le Play school was Roman Catholic and upper class in orientation. In fact, many of its members were aristocrats, for whom the field techniques of the monographic method, far from implying a threat to their social status, represented both a novel way of reaching out benevolently to the masses and an endorsement of the “facts,” rather than a submission to the “theories” of bureaucrats or professors. The method fitted the antirational ideology of the traditional French upper classes, as displayed, for instance, in their predilection for the metaphysical philosophy of Henri Bergson.
This rejection of theory was the key weakness of the monographic method. It accumulated data which are supposed to speak for themselves but which, in the absence of comparative perspectives, say relatively little. However, the contemporary sociologist who wishes to compare these data with present-day equivalents will find in the monographs of the Le Play school a rich lode of “sociological fossils.”
Influences on the literature
The first edition of the Ouvriers européens was published in 1855. “In order to avoid upsetting public opinion,” it was published as a limited luxury edition, and the government presses in Paris handled the printing. The second edition was published in Tours in 1879, by the Mame publishing company, well known in France for its specialization in Roman Catholic literature.
The books that Le Play published after the Ouvriers européens are fundamentally works of special pleading, although claiming to be based on his past empirical research. The main ones are La réforme sociale en France (1864), L’organisation du travail (1870; an English translation appeared in 1872), L’organisation de la famille (1871 a), La paix sociale après le desastre (1871 b), La constitution de I’Angleterre (1875), and La réforme de I’Europe et le salut en France (1876). Part of Le Play’s correspondence was published under the title Voyages en Europe, 1829–1854: Correspondance (1899).
A fairly extensive bibliography of Le Play’s works can be found in Textes choisis (1947, pp. 59–60). Partial translations of the Ouvriers europeens into English are to be found in Zimmerman and Frampton’s Family and Society (1935, pp. 359–595). Extracts have been translated and reproduced in Riley’s Sociological Research (1963, vol. 1, pp. 80–90) and in Parsons and his associates’Theories of Society (1961, pp. 457–459).
In 1856 the Societé Internationale des Études Pratiques d’Économie Sociale was founded, with L. R. Villermé as its first president. It published a bulletin of its proceedings and in 1857 brought out ten volumes of “monographies” under the title: Les ouvriers des deux mondes. The bulletin of the society became in 1881 a review called La reforme sociale. This journal was conservative, Catholic, and largely anti-industrial. One of the better representatives of that tendency was de Ribbe, whose La famille et la société en France avant la Révolution (1873) is fundamentally a work of moralizing ideology.
Dissatisfied with the orientation of La réforme sociale, a group composed of Demolins, Tourville, de Rousiers, and Robert Pinot broke away in 1886 and founded La science sociale, under the editor-ship of Demolins. (In 1935 La reforme sociale and La science sociale merged to become Les etudes sociales.)
Among the works of the Science sociale group one may cite Demolins’s Les grandes routes des peuples: Essai de geographic sociale, comment la route cree le type social (1901–1903). A more popular book by the same author was translated into English in 1898 (see 1897), with the title Anglo-Saxon Superiority: To What It Is Due; it ascribes the putative superiority of the Anglo-Saxons over the collectivistic societies of France and Germany to the particularistic family system and its stress upon self-reliance, progressive education, a responsible elite, and a noninterfering government. A crucial interest of Demolins was indeed education, which he wanted to reform along the lines of the English public school system. He founded the only successful progressive school that France has known, and it is described in his L’education nouvelle: L’Scole des Roches (1898).
Tourville was the theoretician of the Science sociale group. His most important work, besides the refinement of Le Play’s nomenclature, was translated into English in 1907 as The Growth of Modern Nations: A History of the Particularist Form of Society (1905).
One of the most interesting writers of the Science sociale group was de Rousiers. He wrote one of the best statements of the group’s position in his article “La science sociale,” published in the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (1894). His American Life (1892) and The Labour Question in Britain (1895) are among the best products of the Le Play school. In The Labour Question the monographic method reaches a new level of sophistication, through effective comparisons between the families of wage earners in different industries and between different types of productive organizations. Note also de Rousier’s Hambourg et I’Allemagne contemporaine (1902), which brings a needed correction to Demolins’s strictures on Germany as a collecti vis tic society, and Une famille de hobereaux pendant six siècles (1934).
Sociologists who wish to use monographies for a comparative historical perspective will consult with profit the extensive bibliography in Ferré’s Les classes sociales dans la France contemporaine(1936, pp. 231–262), in particular the works of Jacques Valdour, who used participant-observer techniques. An addition to the Ferre bibliography should be the white-collar budgets in Henry Delpech’s Recherches sur le niveau de vie et les habitudes de consommation (Toulouse 1936–1938) (1938).
One of the more fruitful uses of the budget method was made by the Durkheimian Maurice Halbwachs and is summarized in his work L’évolution des besoins dans les classes ouvrières (1933).
The most interesting offshoot of the Le Play school has been the work of Philippe Ariès, who has attempted to synthesize its approach with that of the Durkheim school, using a comparative historical approach rather than a strictly monographic one. His most important works are Histoire des populations fran^aises (1948) and Uenfant et la vie familiale sous I’ancien regime (1960), which was published in English as Centuries of Childhood: A Social History of Family Life in 1962.
Among commentaries on Le Play and his school must be cited Sorokin’s Contemporary Sociological Theories (1928, pp. 63–98), Recueil d’etudes sociales public a la memoire de Frederic Le Play (1956), and “Les cadres sociaux de la doctrine morale de Frederic Le Play,” by Andree Michel (1963).
Jesse R. Pitts
[For the historical context of Le Play’s work, see the biographies of Comteand Saint-simon;for discussion of the subsequent development of Le Play’s ideas, see Anthropology,article on The Anthropological Study of Modern Society; Geography,article on Social Geography; Modernization,article on Social Aspects;and the biographies of Durkheimyand Tourville.]
(1855) 1877–1879 Les ouvriers europeens. 2d ed. 6 vols. Tours: Mame. → Volume 1: La methode d*observation appliquee . . . à l’étude des families ouvrières. Volume 2: Les ouvriers de I’Orient et leurs essaims de la Mediterranee. Volume 3: Les ouvriers du nord et leurs essaims de la Baltique et de la Manche. Volumes 4–6: Les ouvriers de I’Occident. Part 1: Populations stables. Part 2: Populations ébranlées. Part 3: Populations désorganisées.
(1864) 1878 La réforme sociale en France. 2 vols. 6th ed. Tours: Mame.
(1870) 1872 The Organization of Labor in Accordance With Custom and the Law of the Decalogue: With a Summary of Comparative Observations Upon Good and Evil in the Regime of Labor. Philadelphia: Claxton. → First published in French.
(1871a) 1907 L’organisation de la famille: Selon le vrai modèle signalé par I’histoire de toutes les races et de tous les temps. 5th ed. Tours: Mame.
1871 b La paix sociale après le désastre. Tours: Mame.
1875 La constitution de I’Angleterre. Tours: Mame.
1876 La réforme en i’Europe et le salut en France. Tours: Mame.
1899 Voyages en Europe, 1829–1854: Correspondance. Paris: Plon.
Textes choisis. Preface by Louis Baudin. Paris: Dalloz, 1947.
AriÈs, Philippe 1948 Histoire des populations franchises. Paris: Société d’Éditions Littéraires Francaises.
Delpech, Henry 1938 Recherches sur le niveau de la vie et les habitudes de consommation (Toulouse 1936— 1938). Paris: Sirey.
Demolins, Edmond (1897) 1898 Anglo-Saxon Superiority: To What It Is Due. New York: Scribner. → First published as À quoi tient la supériorité des Anglo-Saxons.
Demolins, EDMOND 1898 L’education nouvelle: L’École des Roches. Paris: Firmin-Didot.
Demolins, Edmond 1901–1903 Les grandes routes des peuples: Essai de géographic sociale, comment la route crée le type social. 2 vols. Paris: Firmin-Didot.
Ferre, Louise 1936 Les classes sociales dans la France contemporaine. Paris: Hachette.
Halbwachs, Maurice 1933 L’évolution des besoins dans les classes ouvrières. Paris: Alcan.
Michel, AndrÉe 1963 Les cadres sociaux de la doctrine morale de Frédéric Le Play. Cahiers internationaux de sociologie 34:47–68.
Parsons, Talcott et al. (editors) (1961) 1965 Theories of Society: Foundations of Modern Sociological Theory. New York: Free Press.
Recueil d’études sociales publié à la mémoire de Frédéric Le Play. 1956 Paris: Picard.
Ribbe, Charles DE (1873) 1879 La famille et la société en France avant la Révolution. 4th ed. Tours: Mame.
Riley, Matilda W. (editor) 1963 Sociological Research. 2 vols. New York: Harcourt.
Rousiers, Paul DE 1892 American Life. Translated by A. J. Herbertson. Paris: Firmin-Didot. → Published in French in the same year.
Rousiers, Paul DE 1894 La science sociale. American Academy of Political and Social Science, Annals 4, no. 4:620–646.
Rousiers, Paul DE (1895) 1896 The Labour Question in Britain. London and New York: Macmillan.
Rousiers, Paul DE 1902 Hambourg et I’Allemagne contemporaine. Paris: Colin.
Rousiers, Paul DE 1934 Une famille de hobereaux pendant six siecles. Paris: Firmin-Didot.
Societe D’ Économie Sociale, ParisLes ouvriers des deux mondes. → Published from 1857 to 1908.
Sorokin, Pitirim A. 1928 Contemporary Sociological Theories. New York: Harper. → A paperback edition was published in 1964 as Contemporary Sociological Theories Through the First Quarter of the Twentieth Century.
Tourville, Henri DE (1905) 1907 The Growth of Modern Nations: A History of the Particularist Form of Society. London: Arnold. → First published as Histoire de la formation particulariste: L’origine des grands peuples actuels.
Zimmerman, Carle C.; and Frampton, Merle E. 1935 Family and Society: A Study of the Sociology of Reconstruction. London: Williams & Norgate; Princeton, N.J.: Van Nostrand.