Theories of religion - Durkheim

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Key ideas

  • Social exsistence is only possible through the belief in shared ideas
  • Functionalist definition of religion - 'beliefs and practices which unite into one single moral community called a church'
  • Religion is therefore an essential part of the 'collective consicence' or the shared ideas that make social life possible
  • This collective consicence constituted the fundamental notions of time, space, causation and relationships that allow humankind to think logically
  • he distinguished between the profane and the sacred. The profane being everday life and the sacred being constituting things set apart and forbidden


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