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Lecture 8

SOCI 2040 Lecture Notes - Lecture 8: Georg Simmel, Collective Effervescence

Course Code
SOCI 2040
Fuyuki Kurasawa

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Week 7 Durkheim: the social sources of Morality
1. Context: moral crisis
2. Division of labour
3. Religion and society
5. Organic solidarities (in modern societies)
a) Solidarity through difference
b) Strong division of labour: specialization and differentaion of roles and functions
c) Interdependence
d) Decline common beliefs a
Religion and society
1. The elementary Forms of Religious Life (1912)
2. Role of Religion (in the past or other societies)
a) Moral heart of society: set of common rituals, beliefs, and practices
b) Source of collective representations: common symbols with same meanings for
individuals in society
c) Creation of solidarity: social regulation and social integration
Religion is a source of solidarity
Religion is something that provides people with social regulation and social integration
3. Moral crisis of modern society
a) Decline of religion (secularization): moral vacuum
b) "In short, the former gods are growing old or dying, and others have not been
c) Sociology: not revive religion, but turn to society as a replacement for religion
Society may be the replacement for religion
Society will cure moral emptiness, or vacuum in the modern age
4. Power of society
a) Society is superior to individuals (more powerful)
b) Collective effervescence: unleashing of intense energies and creativity beyond
individuals, who lose themselves and merge into the group
c) Individuals surpass themselves in society
d) Source of morality and collective representations
Effervescence is another word for strong
In modern societies we don't need religion necessarily, in a sense to prove morality, and
collective representation.
4. Power of Society (cont'd)
e) Modern society: similar role to god in non modern societies
f) Worship of god = worship of society
We choose our own fate, not god. (Durkheims belief)
When we worship, it is society, instead, not god
What we are worshipping, in the modern age, is called society.
Without society, we are nothing. No sense of being any part of ourselves, because we
are isolated.
Key Words (Next Week) Simmel and social interaction
1. SocialibityL "play-form of association"
2. Conflict: normal and useful
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