The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life

Front Cover
Courier Corporation, Jun 7, 2012 - Social Science - 480 pages
37 Reviews
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.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
16
4 stars
13
3 stars
3
2 stars
2
1 star
3

Review: The Elementary Forms of Religious Life (Oxford World's Classics)

User Review  - Miles Darcey - Goodreads

An interesting study of the elementary religions of the aboriginals. Through his research he tried to find out how religions form, and overall determined a lot about the culture and social structure ... Read full review

Review: The Elementary Forms of Religious Life

User Review  - LOL_BOOKS - Goodreads

WHAT IS RELIGION AND HOW DID IT START? Read full review

All 14 reviews »

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2012)

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.

Bibliographic information