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SOCIOL 2S06 (310)
David Young (301)
Lecture 9

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McMaster University
David Young

Fox 1 Lecture 9 SOCIOL 2S06 Monday October 7, 2013 Last Class: Durkheim & Suicide A) Durkheim’s Study B) B) 4 types of Suicide in Modern Society C) 1) Egotistic Suicide 2) Altruic Suicide 3)… 4)….  Durkheim & Religion A) Durkheim’s Study:  1912 – “The Elementary Forms of Religious Life”  Religion is a social fact (he says everything is a social fact that have consequences: shape and constrain behaviour)  Engaged in an empirical study of religion = data of descriptions of religious beliefs/activities of tribal societies on Australia and north America B) What is Religion?  All religions make a distinction between the sacred (refers to elements that go beyond everyday life which inspire awe and respect) and the profane (refers to the ordinary and common place elements of life)  Religious beliefs (articulate the nature of the sacred) and religious practices are connected to the sacred (indicate how to act in relation to the sacred)  For Durkheim… “Religion is a unified system of beliefs and practices connected to what is sacred” C) Totemism: I. The Totem in Tribal Society:  In the tribal societies Durkheim studied, religion took the form of Totemism  A totem is an animal, plant or object which the members a of a tribal society have come to see as sacred and therefore, having supernatural powers  Cannot eat animals or kill plants = treat totem with respect II. The Social Role of Religion in Tribal Society: Fox 2 Lecture 8 1) Religion helped the society to function (shared religious beliefs about the sacredness of the totem and bind them together under mechanical solidarity 2) Religion helped to maintain conformity within the society and anyone who violated these social norms would feel separated from the common beliefs and special relationship with the totem III. Collective Effervescence:  A special feeling that occurs when experiencing the sacred in social gatherings 1) Experienced when the members of society gather to worship the totem 2) Experienced when members of the society gather to punish those who violated social norms IV. Religion as the Worship of Tribal Society:  General argument: Religion involved the worship of tribal society itself (those beliefs and practices that are connected to the sacred actually stem from trib
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