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Chapter 12

SOCL 2001 Chapter Notes - Chapter 12: Church Attendance, Aboriginal Australians, Married People

Course Code
SOCL 2001

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Chapter 12
Sociological approach to religion:
Emil Durkheim: The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life (1915)
o “a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to search things, this 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”
elements of religion:
o 1st: a system of beliefs and practices
o 2nd: a community or church
o 3rd: sacred things, opposite of profane (mundane and unspiritual)
o other sociologists view religion differently
The common elements
Things considered sacred
o God, spirits, special objects
o What is profane? Mundane and unspiritual
Food, clothes, work, zamzam water
Form a group community of believers, personal and combined experience, share similar
goals, norms and beliefs
o Praying 5 times a day, celebrating Eid with family and friends, praying alone,
attending Sunday mass with family
Set of rituals, ceremonies, and behaviors
o Christmas
Set of beliefs
o Bible, Quran, Torah
o How to react, should/should not, life after death
Form of organization
o Church, mosque, synagogue
Max Weber’s View
Interrelation between people’s beliefs and their surroundings
“The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Captalism”
relationship between Protestansim and Captalism. How wordly success confirms one’s
salvation and as evidence of God
2 types of religious leaders
o priest: owes authority to the power of the office
o prophet: holds authority on the basis of charismatic quality
animism: belief that spirits inhabit virtually everything in nature
o rocks, trees, lakes; hunting and gathering society
shamanism: belief that certain individuals have special skills
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