Analysis Of Emile Durkheim's The Elementary Forms Of Religious Life

Good Essays
Emile Durkheim was an influential figure in the French school of Sociology. In his piece “The Elementary Forms of Religious life” (1912), Durkheim examines religion not exclusively as pertaining to church, but instead as an important societal function (Appelrouth and Edles 2016). “He sought to explain why the moral realm focused so much on religion” (Appelrouth and Edles 2016). In his book, Emile Durkheim uses concepts such as social facts, the moral code, symbols, and the distinction between sacred, and profane objects to demonstrate the connection between social life and religion. In his book “The Elementary Forms of Religious life” (1912), Durkheim says that social life is naturally religious. He explains that religious force is a result of collective action. He continues that the feeling of awe that is experienced …show more content…
According to Durkheim religion allows people in a society to feel unity and solidarity. He says that it provides comfort because it allows for an explanation to things (such as feelings, thoughts, or actions) that are difficult to interpret without the use of churchlike religion. According to Durkheim, religion is crucial to our social system because it helps reinforce the morals and norms of a given society (Appelrouth and Edles 2106). Durkheim says that religion has the power to encode the system of relations pertaining to a group. Further, he states that in its social function, religion reaffirms the moral code (or the ideas and attitudes that keep society together) (Durkheim in Appelrouth and Edles 2016). One example of this is in the school institution, schools teach young children to wait in line, respect authority figures (such as

Related Documents

  • Decent Essays

    As a result, as a group, they will start to accept these new standards, and integrate it in their daily life. In the book “Selected Writing”, Durkheim argues that a symbol is a powerful too that can strengthen the relationship between members. (Giddens, 1972, p.232). Lastly, as mentioned above, religion gives faiths, hopes, and meanings to people to continue living. “Religion rituals also helps us feel that we are more in control of often uncontrollable, capricious events which threaten us the safety of the group… But certain rituals allows us to experience a sense of comfort as well as control in the sense that they reassure us of the continued existence and strength of the group, even in the face of adversity” (Pasdermajian, 2015, p.…

    • 824 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Since religion gives people a common set of beliefs which makes it an important aspect of socialization to sociologists. Since sociology is the study human arrangements or structure of social relationships it is important to sociology because religion can reinforce social unity and stability. Religion gives several functions for society. Emile Durkeheim provided a lot of work that religion serves for society, regardless what type or how it’s favored. Even sociologist today are still influenced by Emile Dukheim.…

    • 752 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    The emotional involvement in Christian worship service is very important in understanding how powerful the collective group is. Research should be more interested in this point, and in how the prominence of religion and its power is understood through religious participation. This argument also supports Durkheim’s (1912) ideas that religion is responsible for social integration. I argue that people wouldn’t attach themselves so strongly to their religious group unless they felt some sort of solidarity, produced by the collective power of the group. Despite challenges to this idea in Bellah’s work, he also quotes Durkheim and says that, “It is a singular error to present individualist morality as the antagonist of Christian morality; on the contrary it is derived from it” (1970, p. 91).…

    • 912 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    He believes that through understanding religion, we can explain human motivation. To Weber, religion provides humanity answers to theodicy questions such as suffering and misfortunes to undeserved people and vice versa. Religion provide answers to this unbalanced world and thus motivates humanity to find salvation through it. Whether that salvation is a relief from suffering or simply reassurance of one’s abilities and importance, Weber believes that it is the foundation of motivation through the religious perspective. Weber introduced ‘Verstehen’ into the field of sociology.…

    • 1394 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    They strive to reach his example. If the priest is held so high in the eyes of society and God, then people also want to mimic his behavior and be successful. To Nietzsche, religion represents the sacrifice of freedom. Religion is synonymous with morality. When religion can be broken down into non-religious concepts that is the main idea of…

    • 828 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    The Elementary Forms of Religious Life is a well known book written by Emile Durkheim in which he describes the connection between religion and social life. In order to depict religion in a social matter, he defines religious ceremonies as events that worship social life. He states that society is the driving force in a religion and that religious gatherings function to bring people together. It is important to understand that social life is inherently religious and as long as there are societies, religion will exist and it will allow individuals to give meaning to life in a communal way (Appelrouth and Edles 2016:123). Durkheim clarifies that individuals come together as a group to reaffirm their moral values and beliefs.…

    • 1033 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    It is important to understand how Durkheim connects all the processes and characteristics of religion to how religion is represented by the members of the group as a whole. The idea of self-belonging is the comforting factor which attends to the natural need of man. Through the rituals, the symbols, and the sacred it becomes evident that self-identification is reinsured at all times within a religion. If the self-identification is questioned by a member then they can refer back to one of the processes in order to reassure their belonging. Religion has the ability to create itself into any possible form of comfort.…

    • 1168 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    In The Elementary Forms of Religious Life, Durkheim implies the existence of a strong similarity between the concept of religion and society, and by extension implies that there is a relationship between god and society. In Durkheim’s text, he writes, “If the totem is the symbol of both the god and the society, is this not because the god and the society are one in the same?” (Durkheim 208) Simply put, Durkheim is implying that, because both god and the society are revered, sacred entities, which draw both the utmost respect the society 's individuals, and posses a sort of “moral authority” (209) over the society itself, god and society are essentially one in the same; a relationship which, intern, manifests itself as a reality in the form…

    • 1122 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Social interaction is defined as “the process by which people act and react in relation to others” (Macionis, 2014). There are three main components to social structure: social institutions, social groups, and social status (Ferguson, 2015). Social institutions are devoted to meet the basic social needs of individuals in society, and provide guidelines on how people should behave to meet their social needs (Monnier, 2010). This can include family, education, government, and more (Monnier, 2010). For example, in Christum, religion is a major aspect because it allows meaning, especially being a Christian since Christum is a Christ-centered society.…

    • 830 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Religious rituals express the spiritual convictions of the members of the religion and help increase the sense of belonging of the individuals to the group. Individuals who partake in religious rituals or practices do so not only for spiritual reasons, but also to communicate their association with the religion and its believers as a whole. Religion allows both the expression and control of emotion which enables the bond of individuals to one another and increases the…

    • 762 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays