Émile Durkheim and Mircea Eliade have dissimilar understandings of religion. Emile Durkheim did not have an interest in a belief system or the cognitive approach. He dismissed the study of how particular beliefs lead to certain practices and adopted a functionalist approach. He does not acknowledge the belief in God, rather focuses on what religion does within society. He believed that individuals encompassed a more pure form and focused on the essential structure of religion. His theory of totemism developed, which centers around the idea that the subject of religion is to bring people together, and to ultimately result in social cohesion. He metaphorically relates this to when people in a community rally around the totem. Furthermore, making the totem represent the sacred. Durkheim then understands that the totem will eventually develop into a spirit, and ultimately into a ‘God’ or spiritual form. Moreover, connecting a society on a metaphysical level. This concept does not center around a belief system, rather on social cohesion.
Durkheim worried that the state of ‘anomie’ would rise due to the lack of social security and feeling of worth that people had in this modern society. Everything became impersonal which he thought would lead to the breakdown of society. He believed that for people to conform fully to society, they needed to feel like they belong to something bigger than them, but individualism would lead to
Both monism and dualism, ideas debated amongst philosophers for centuries, involve trying to explain the relation between the mind and body, or if there even is such a correlation. A monist believes that a person is singular in their being. This means that monists do not distinguish the mind from the body, or even reality from the physical world, such as life after death (Schaffer 32). For a monist, reality is confined to the materialistic world. Oppositely, there is dualism. Though there are many different forms, at it its core, dualism is the idea that the essence of the mind (e.g. who one is as a person) is separate from the physical body (Churchland, 84). Because many religions are based on a belief in the soul and life after death, dualism is a view commonly held among the public (Churchland, 84). Subsequently, I will argue in support of the type of dualism known as substance dualism and the idea of the mind being separate from the body and materialistic world.
Durkheim’s theory was supported by Merton who was a functionalist. As a functionalist he believes that all groups have a function within society, this can be directly related to what Durkheim said in relation to the organic society. Merton explained how he aimed to ‘discover how some social structures exert definite pressure upon certain persons in the society to engage in non-conforming rather than conforming conduct. If we can locate groups particularly subject to such pressures then we should expect to find high rates of deviant conduct in these groups, not because the human beings comprising them are compounded of distinctive biological tendencies but because they are responding normally to the social situation in which they find themselves’. (1969: 225) This aim can directly describe why crime in committed and why it is the lower class that are more likely to engage in criminal activity as they are found to be in the least fortunate social situation. Merton relates this to anomie and the American Dream. The American Dream is the idea portrayed that anyone has the ability to achieve success and wealth if they are willing to put in the hard work. However as he lived through the Great Depression Merton found first hand that social legitimacy was the key factor in achieving this dream, and many people had social boundaries depriving them from the ability
Durkheim stressed how interconnectivity within a society is necessary for success and ultimate balance and stability. He linked the human body and its organs to society; the organs being the necessary parts that work collectively to maintain stability and keep the person alive. Cultural norms and values are placed within a society because of the socially deviant members who break said established norms, which calls for punishment and consequences. Such deviant actions could be in the form of social movements, protests, crime etc. Crime has been a part of human civilization since the beginning of time, and many argue that crime breaks the organic and mechanical solidarity that is, therefore crime is bad and should be extinguished from society.
While both Sigmund Freud and Emile Durkheim are concerned with the study of human behaviour as it relates to culture, each does so from within distinct traditions. In terms of religion, Freud’s approach belongs to the psychological tradition, while Durkheim puts forward a sociological approach. In the Freudian view, human behaviour is largely driven by inborn and intangible “drives”, working in the unconscious. Such phenomena are not directly observable, that is, they are non-empirical; they must consequently be inferred, and as such are conjectural. Durkheim’s sociological method, on the other hand, utilises direct empirical observations of social phenomena (rites, rituals, customs, et cetera), looking to account for the impetus behind and purpose of group behaviour. Hence Freud is concerned with obscure, intangible internal phenomena, whereas Durkheim is concerned with overt and tangible external phenomena. Evidently, the theoretical positions in question to a degree divide between internal and external motivations.
Emile Durkheim’s also believed in the anomie theory. The anomie theory is the lack of normal ethical or social standards. Durkheim believed that worthlessness and frustration resulted in acts with consequences, such as, suicide or criminal activity. For example, a person may be alone and feel worthless, so they commit a crime because they feel as if there is no reason not to and that since they already feel worthless then it wouldn’t affect them. Another example is an elderly widow, which lives with no one and does not see her family, may commit suicide because she does not see a reason in her living anymore because her life has no
According to functionalist, Durkheim, sociology was not a study of a person or person’s behaviour it was for those individuals who built their social life towards religion and the economy. (Giddens2001). Therefore, through all of his work, Durkheim has argued against individuals approaching towards the social analysis by rejecting the impact of psychological issues of their social behaviour. His demand was that studying human beings was not possibly a benefit without studying the forces which could make and restrict them. As per Durkheim, the ethics of behaviour were taught by parents through generations where individuals do not learn on their own when born or after birth. Durkheim showed his
According to Durkheim, Catholic society has normal levels of integration while Protestant society has lower levels (1951, pp.324-325). Durkheim defines religion as “ a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to scared things, that is to say, things set apart and forbidden- beliefs and practices which unite into one single moral community called a church, all those who adhere to them” (1951,p.62). He also says “the term suicide is applied to all cases of death resulting directly or indirectly from a positive or negative act of the victim himself, which he knows will produce this result” (1951, p.298). This comes from social facts binding people together and integrating them into the collective behaviour. Durkheim’s definition of religion in itself is therefore a sociological deterministic definition. This is because he is linking religion to social facts, which as previously mentioned refer to social structures because they are independent institutions that affect the way that people are. He is making a claim that religion is in fact a social structure. Durkheim then says “there is something external in religion which is destined to survive all the particular symbols in which does not feel the need of upholding and reaffirming at regular intervals the collective sentiments and
When people look at the world, they see it is structured in a specific way. Each perspective varies depending on the person. For instance, when looking at classical theory in sociology, there exists three viewpoints on society. Karl Marx believed the world based on conflict while Weber made sense of it by viewing the meanings. As for Durkheim, he made sense of it through social cohesion. Unlike Marx, whose primary focus was conflict, Durkheim’s writing centered around how people were capable of coexisting harmoniously.
Explain: The state of nature of man fundamentally informs both alienation and anomie. Durkheim makes it evident in his writing that egoism of indivuadals is a product of society. Marx sees the society structure as being oppressive both in material but emotional terms to humainty.
Durkheim had the idea that traditional societies were ‘mechanical’ and stayed intact by the reality that everyone in a traditional society was pretty much the same and had a lot in common. Durkheim argued that in a traditional society, the shared awareness completely absorbs independent consciousness. Therefore social norms are powerful and their behaviour is controlled.
Durkheim thought that the transition from a primitive society to an advanced society would bring about disorder, conflict and a lack of social norms and consciousness (anomie). This then relates to individualism because Durkheim would argue that as we move towards a modernized society where a common consensus is diluted to an individualistic viewpoint it can be seen that individuals are becoming more influential in society rather than society influencing individuals which confused Durkheim.