Emile Durkheim Religion

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In 1912, a French sociologist Emile Durkheim explored his studies of religion and societies by publishing his book, The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life. Durkheim describes a religion as “a single integrated system of a certain set of beliefs and various practices which are considered relative to sacred things, beliefs and practices. (Durkheim, 1915) These practices are used as a set of rituals within the religion. These rituals thus create a form of social cohesion which help relate individuals to society. Social cohesion was also studied by Durkheim. Also coined by Durkheim were the terms mechanical solidarity and organic solidarity in his book "The Division of Labour in Society" (1893). Mechanical solidarity relates to the bonding …show more content…
These were referred to as totems. Symbolic totems in this instance are what Durkheim refers to as the elementary form of religion. (Giddens, 2009) These totems were used to represent their society as a whole and a cluster of their spiritual gods. Many totems in the tribes Durkheim studied were sacred objects to those within the tribe, as they were considered divine and holy. They had a ritualistic obligation in the society and were not to be used on a daily basis. These totems were utilised during sacrifices or spiritual ceremonies which made them even more sacred. Orrú and Wang state that Durkheim considered religion to be made up of four elements: beliefs, practices, the sacred, and a Church. (Orrú and Wang, 1992) Durkheim also said that religious mementos are divided into two kinds of phenomena. These are known as the sacred and the profane. The sacred refers to items such as the totemic symbols in the Aboriginal tribes, these special objects require certain and specific religious treatment and grace. The second division is known as profane which is basically the total opposite of a sacred item. According to Durkheim, these totems became crucial to these tribes as they are the symbols for their religion and for their tribe itself. They became the central values of their community. Durkheim said …show more content…
The exploration of religions by Durkheim showed us that there was a fundamental aspect of society that viewed religion as its one and only source of belonging. The social cohesion present while practising a religion and the symbolic nature of religions show that individuals need a meaning or a source of security to feel like they belong in a society. Many new religions nowadays are focusing on that specific detail about belonging in society to increase their membership. As said above, the Irish national census proves that religion is not as popular as it used to be with a significant decline in those who are practising noted in the latest 2016 census. Religion will always be present in society but as a way of dismissing anomie amongst individuals in society and to help create a stronger social bond between communities. All religions according to Durkheim have an aspect of behaviour connected to them. Furthermore, these certain actions that people who are of the religion engage in are crucial in the way that these people can identify themselves as part of their own community. This is how religion provides and maintains a social bond between

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