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The Elementary Forms of Religious Life- September 13th 2016Durkheim• University of Bordeaux: 3 important works:1. “The division of labor in society” (social solidarity)2. “The rules of the sociological method” (methods and approach to understanding of society based on theoretical premises)3. “Suicide” (narrowly focuses on suicide)• In these 3 books, tried he to establish sociology as a discipline at the university• There were no professional sociologists before Durkheim• Comte: parent of sociology, but in fact he was a philosopher• Durkheim was 1st to hold a professional chair in sociology at Bordeaux• Defended sociology as something unique, that couldn’t be served by other sciences• Durkheim’s conception of sociology: sociology is the study of social facts• Treats social facts as things, which aren’t reducible to something more simple, orpsychological, biological facts/integral in their own right/could only be studied from the view ofsociety• Society was an integral whole (nothing other than the sum of its parts=for Durkheim not thecase, there was something different about that whole=it was greater than the sum of its parts) • Social facts are not reducible to history, biology, and psychology• Durkheim is one of the last representatives of evolutionism• He is interested in the essence of religion• Religions are complex with a history and hide what is really elementary in religious life• Rejects looking at contemporary religious phenomena because we will never get to theelementary forms of religious life and look at societies that are not complex• Isolate elementary forms of religious life, and can make sense of our contemporary religions• Human beings are at their very core, are religious/cant get away from itSimple and complex religionsthere are no simple societies or languages – Bois argued thisDurkheim thought it was necessary to study the elementary forms of religious life (thebuilding blocks) in simple societies