Durkheim 's Sociological Perspective On Religion

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Abstract This work examines Durkheim’s sociological approach to religion. Several central aspects of Durkheim’s approach are defined, including the concepts of religion, clan, and totem. The Totemic Principle and how it can be applied to religion is also discussed. Supporting evidence for Durkheim is offered through Eliade, while dissension is offered by Malinowski. This work concludes with an example of Durkheim’s ideas applied to the story of Lame Deer. Background Any discussion of Durkheim’s views on religion from a sociological perspective should define exactly what the sociological perspective regarding religion is. According to Roberts and Yamane (2012), for sociologists, the study of religion takes into account more than merely the beliefs of the religion. Religious institutions exist and the existence of these institutions is an important aspect of sociological study (Roberts & Yamane, 2012). Religious institutions affects not only beliefs but also behaviors that sometimes run contrary to doctrine as with anything else concerning human beings, conflict is always a possibility (Roberts & Yamane, 2012). The behaviors of individuals within the context of religious institutions and beliefs are also important to the sociological perspective (Roberts & Yamane, 2012). As such, sociology focuses on the interactions between influences of religion on society and society on religion (Roberts & Yamane, 2012); this deconstruction offers the lens through which this work
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