Essay about MAx Weber

Submitted By erinevora
Words: 358
Pages: 2

Describe Emile Durkheim's definition of religion. What kind of role does Durkheim ascribe to the community in his understanding of religious life? What distinguishes Durkheim's view on religion from previous thinkers? Elaborate on the sacred/profane dichotomy, and the way in which religious practitioners "set things apart." Finally, attempt to explain how the notion of "collective effervescence" is significant to Durkheim's theory on totemism.

Durkheim can be described as the “father of sociology”. Durkheim attempts to explain that society influences all elements of human life, including religious beliefs and practices. Unlike Freud and Tylor, he goes beyond the attempt to just explain religion but instead used his studies to explain all reasons for what people think and do. Durkheim believes that people are born into communities, which shape them into their individual selves. In this belief, it makes it seem as though people are like the “puzzle pieces” that fit together into one distinct puzzle, or community. Durkheim claims that worship of a God or totem is worship of the clan itself. Contrary to Freud’s views about totem worship, Durkheim believes that a totem symbol represents strength of the community, a means of separating different communities, and the idea that the soul is “the clan within” each person that guides each individual to do what is best for the “welfare” of the community rather than acting on selfish (“individualistic”) desires.