Durkheim draws our attention to the symbolic and ritual dimensions of life o

Durkheim draws our attention to the symbolic and

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Durkheim draws our attention to the symbolic and ritual dimensions of lifeoGlue of society is cultural, symbols, collective right, where those symbols gain emotional power and shape how we feel about our groupsoMaterial conditions versus cultural Marx-Durkheim Contrast-If Marx slighted the spiritual/symbolic side of humanity, Durkheim does notoDurkheim presents a sociological theory of culture that remains influential todayoMorality, a collective sentiment, is a crucial feature of social life and a central subject for DurkheimoSo are rituals and sacred symbols-If Marx overemphasized social conflict, Durkheim is biased toward social integrationoDurkheim is always aiming to explain social cohesion or solidarityoDurkheim asks a fundamental question that never occurs to Marx: if social life requires solidarity, what causes union?Emile Durkheim-40 years younger than Marx—forty years of modernity separate them-Largely responsible for the success of sociology as a distinct discipline in France and Europe more broadly The Great Transformation-Durkheim lives through the end of an era
-He moves from homogeneity of a relatively small, insular, Jewish community to the university system of a modern secular nation-state-He will theorize about this transformation or transition that he lived-Tries to capture the essential different between modern and pre-modern societies -Mechanical and organic solidarity-Ferdinand Tonnies—Gemeinschaft and Gesselshaft Two Intellectual Influences on Durkheim-First, the para-psychology of crowd theory-Second, proto-anthropology of the late 19thcentury-Haven’t these sources been thoroughly discredited?-Don’t they reveal the foundational weakness of Durkheim’s theories -Let’s start with Crowd TheoryMesmerized-Durkheim is clearly influenced by a growing fascination with group hypnosis among physicians and psychologists in France-The earliest purveyor of something like group hypnosis was the German Friedrich Mesmer (1733-1815)—the founder of something like a movement called Mesmerism, the origins of the idea to be mesmerized-In intellectual circles, Le Bon’s work on the Crowd is a clear influence on Durkheim-Durkheim takes very seriously the emotional power of the co-presence of others with a shared fixation-Some today think this silly—“the myth of the madding crowd”—other think ita social fact-Are feelings contagious, do they spread through gatherings, and can they be channeled by symbols and ritesoThe “the feeling of a room”oWe are vulnerable to social feelingsoEspecially if everyone is focused on the same thing-If so, is this a cultural-emotional artifact, interesting but irrelevant for the workings of complex, modern societies Ancient Judaism and Anthropology -Durkheim draws on early insights from European views of native Americans, Africans, and Australians-He also draws on his own grasp of Ancient and not so ancient Judaism-Both become sources for a theory of the pre-modern of the “primitive”-

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