The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life

Courier Corporation
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In this 1912 classic, a founder of modern sociology seeks the enduring source of human social identity. Émile Durkheim presents a remarkably accessible examination of animism, naturism, totemism, myth, and ritual. His intriguing views and ultimate conclusion—that the source of religion and morality lies in collective consciousness, rather than in individual minds—remains a topic of debate among sociologists, anthropologists, ethnographers, philosophers, and theologians.
Durkheim edited L'Année Sociologique, the first journal of sociology, and was instrumental in establishing the field as a social science. With The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life, he explores totemism among Australia's Aborigines, offering the opportunity "to yield an understanding of the religious nature of man, by showing us an essential and permanent aspect of humanity." Durkheim's study focuses on the need and capacity of humans to relate to one another socially, with religion as the core of the moral universe. An excellent introduction to the influential sociologist's ideas, this book continues to speak to new generations about the intriguing origin and nature of religion and society.
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About the author

Emile Durkheim was born in Epinal, France on April 15, 1858. He received a baccalauréats in Letters in 1874 and Sciences in 1875 from the Collège d'Epinal. He became a professor of sociology at the Sorbonne, where he founded and edited the journal L'Annee Sociologique. He is renowned for the breadth of his scholarship; for his studies of primitive religion; for creating the concept of anomie (normlessness); for his study of the division of labor; and for his insistence that sociologists must use sociological (e.g., rates of behavior) rather than psychological data. He published several works including His Suicide in 1897. His notion of community, his view that religion forms the basis of all societies, had a profound impact on the course of community studies. He died on November 15, 1917 at the age of 59.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Courier Corporation
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Published on
Jun 7, 2012
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Pages
480
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ISBN
9780486120447
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Language
English
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Genres
Social Science / Sociology of Religion
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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In The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure, Victor Turner examines rituals of the Ndembu in Zambia and develops his now-famous concept of "Communitas." He characterizes it as an absolute inter-human relation beyond any form of structure. The Ritual Process has acquired the status of a small classic since these lectures were first published in 1969. Turner demonstrates how the analysis of ritual behavior and symbolism may be used as a key to understanding social structure and processes. He extends Van Gennep's notion of the "liminal phase" of rites of passage to a more general level, and applies it to gain understanding of a wide range of social phenomena. Once thought to be the "vestigial" organs of social conservatism, rituals are now seen as arenas in which social change may emerge and be absorbed into social practice. As Roger Abrahams writes in his foreword to the revised edition: "Turner argued from specific field data. His special eloquence resided in his ability to lay open a sub-Saharan African system of belief and practice in terms that took the reader beyond the exotic features of the group among whom he carried out his fieldwork, translating his experience into the terms of contemporary Western perceptions. Reflecting Turner's range of intellectual interests, the book emerged as exceptional and eccentric in many ways: yet it achieved its place within the intellectual world because it so successfully synthesized continental theory with the practices of ethnographic reports."
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