Unit-6 Durkheim and Functionalism.pdf - Durkheim and...

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Durkheim and Functionalism 6.1 Introduction 6.2 Functionalism as a Sociological Perspective 6.3 Durkheim and Elementary Forms of Religious Life 6.4 Durkheim's Positive Definition of Religion 6.5 Sacred and Profane 6.6 Totemism: The Elementary Form of Religion 6.7 Categories of Religious Rites and their Social Functions 6.8 Religion and Construction of Knowledge 6.9 Critical Remarks on Durkheim's sociology of Religion 6.10 Conclusion 6.11 Further Reading -- Learning Objectives After studying this unit you should be able to: write about Durkheim and Functionalism; distinguish between sacred and profane; describe totemism; and analyze religion and construction of knowledge. Durkheim was a leading French sociologist of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. His classic work The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life was published in 1912. In this work he developed his sociological theory of religion, and more generally, of knowledge. In this work Durkheim tries to explore the origins and causes of religion - form him a permanent and essential aspect of human life. He sought the origins of religion in society, rather than in the individual human mind. He considered that the social existence of men determines their social consciousness. Durkheim's main interest was the ways in which society is bound together. He investigated the role of religion in keeping society together, and sought the origin of religion in communal emotion. He thought the model for relationships between people and the supernatural was the relationship between individuals and the community (Durkheim For him religion i s a group phenomenon for it i s group, which gives a religion i t s specific character and unity. On the other hand religion unifies the group and binds people together. Thus, he conclusively argues that
Classical Theories Durkheim develops this theory on religion by studying the aboriginal tribes of Australia. The present unit elaborates on how he develops his sociological theory of religion. Before discussing on that let us see briefly the theoretical perspective of functionalism since his analysis of religion is in this approach. 6.2 Functionalism as a Sociological Perspective Functionalism is the oldest and still the dominant theoretical perspective in sociology and other social sciences. In functionalist approach ,a social phenomena i s analysed in terms of i t s functions towards maintaining the social unity. Functionalism as a theoretical perspective drawn heavily from the biological theories and functioning of human bodies. This perspective i s built upon twin emphases: application of the scientific method to the objective social world and use of an analogy between the individual organism and society. The functioning of a human body i s analysed in terms of the functioning of the various human organs in relation to each other as well as the organism as a whole. Functionalism adopts a similar perspective.

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