Functionalism 2

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Cognitive functions of religion 

  • Ability to think and reason conceptually 
  • In order to share thoughts, we need to use the same categories as others

Drukheim and Mauss (1903) 

  • Religion provides categories such as: time, space and causation 
  • Division of tribes into clans gives humans first notion of classification 
  • Religion is the origin of human thought, reason and science 


  • Not sufficient for totemism 
  • Worsley (1956) there is no sharp division between sacred of profane, different clans share the same totems 
  • Even if Durkhiem is right, it doesn't prove he discovered the essence of all religions 
  • Theory may apply better to small-scale socities with a single religion 
  • Harder to apply to


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