John N.

Abletis MA Sociology Student 2009-79293
Excerpts from

Prof. Randolf S. David Classical Sociological Theory (Socio 271) UPD-CSSP-Dep¶t. of Sociology January 20, 2010

Translated from the French by Joseph Ward Sain 1926, London, George Allen & Unwin, Ltd.

Introduction: 1. ³The greatest single book of the twentieth century´ (Collins & Makowsky, 1998, p. 111) 2. It is ³inspired by Marx¶s celebrated idea that the social existence of men determines their social consciousness´ (Zeitlin, 1968, p. 276). 3. ³Elementary Forms is more than a study of social integration; it is also an excursion into human evolution, the sociology of knowledge, functional and causal analyses, the origin and basis of thought« [It] is thus a long, complex, and²compared with earlier works²less coherently organized book´ (Turner, Beeghley, & Powers, 1995, p. 336). 4. ³[His] study of religion represents the beginning of his formal work on morality. Although he had lectured on morality in his courses on education and had written several articles on morality, he saw in religion a chance to study how interaction among individuals leads to the creation of symbolic systems that (1) lace together individual actions into collective units, (2) regulate and control individual desires, and (3) attach individuals to both the symbolic and structural« facets of the social world. In the face of anomie and egoism, he thought that an understanding of religious morality in primitive social systems would throw light on how much morality could be created in modern, differentiated systems´ (Ibid, p. 335). 5. ³Durkheim« is interested in religion largely because he considers religion to be especially effective in developing common values²and so a very good source of integration. Durkheim¶s search for an equally strong integrative force in modern society led him to see the public school system as the functional alternative to religion for the transmission of values in modern society´ (Wallace & Wolf, 1986, p. 16). 6. Elementary Forms of the Religious Life has a twofold message. The first concerns his sociology of knowledge; the second, his theory of rituals (Collins, 1994, pp. 212-213). CONTENTS OF THE BOOK (ELEMENTARY FORMS OF THE RELIGIOUS LIFE) I. Principal subject of the book: analysis of the simplest religion known to determine the elementary forms of the religious life²Why they are more easily found and explained in the primitive religions ³Because specialization and the ideological smoke screen make it impossible to study directly the roots of religion in modern society, Durkheim addressed the issue in the context of primitive society´ (Ritzer, 1992, p. 197). Method: Comparative Method; Emphasis on Case Studies and Ethnographic Reports


Rationale: ³In the first place, for the sociologist as for the historian, social facts vary with the social system of which they form a part; they cannot be understood when detached from it. This is why two facts which come from two different societies cannot be profitably compared merely because they seem to resemble each other; it is necessary that these societies themselves resemble each other, that is to say, that they be only varieties of the same species. The comparative method would be impossible, if social types did not exist, and it cannot be usefully applied except within a single type. What errors have not been committed for having neglected this precept! It is thus that facts have been unduly connected with each other which, in spite of exterior resemblances, really have neither the same sense nor the same importance«´ (Durkheim, 1912, p. 94) ³But when he undertakes to include all sorts of societies and civilizations, one cannot know any of them with the necessary thoroughness; when he assembles facts from every country in order to compare them, he is obliged to take them hastily, without having either the means or the time to carefully criticize them. Tumultuous and summary comparisons result, which discredit the comparative method with many intelligent persons. It can give serious results only when it is applied to so limited a number of societies that each of them' can be studied with sufficient precision. The essential thing is to choose those where investigations have the greatest chance to be fruitful´ (Ibid, p. 95). ³Also, the value of the facts is much more important than their number. In our eyes, the question whether totemism has been more or less universal or not, is quite secondary. If it interests us, it does so before all because in studying it we hope to discover relations of a nature to make us understand better what religion is. Now to establish these relations it is neither necessary nor always useful to heap up numerous experiences upon each other; it is much more important to have a few that are well studied and really significant. One single fact may make a law appear, where a multitude of imprecise and vague observations would only produce confusion. In every science, the scholar would be overwhelmed by the facts which present themselves to him, if he did not make a choice among them. It is necessary that he distinguish those which promise to be the most instructive, that he concentrate his attention upon these, and that he temporarily leave the others to one side´ (Ibid, p. 95) The Australian and American Indian Tribes and the Clan II. Secondary subject of research: the genesis of the fundamental notions of thought or the categories² Reasons for believing that their origin is religious and consequently social²How a way of restating the theory of knowledge is thus seen ³It attempts to show that sociology can give a more powerful explanation of human ideas than can philosophy or psychology, either of the Kantian version or of the empiricist version. Kant argued that ideas exist a priori as categories through which experience enters the mind; Durkheim agreed, to the extent that ideas exist prior to any given individual. But the ideas of space, time, number, and other general categories are not universal and unchanging but take their form from the structure of society and change as the society changes. Similarly, the empiricists are right to the extent that they believe in a material world existing prior to ideas. But people do not merely acquire ideas by generalizing their sensations. The crucial aspect of the material world is society itself the way human bodies are spread out or come together produces the categories through which all other experience is filtered´ (Collins, 1994, p. 212) ³The exchange contains a risk that the other person might cheat by taking something and not giving anything in return. Given that risk, rational persons would not enter into a social contract unless they


had confidence that the other person would live up to the bargain. Trust that the other person will not cheat comes from the widespread acceptance of rules of right and wrong´ (Pampel, 2000, p. 56). ³Durkheim reasoned that the willingness of individuals to enter into a social contract relies on the preexisting acceptance of morality. Strong ties of individuals to larger groups that specify rules of right and wrong makes cooperation possible. In short, rational action depends on a nonrational foundation« the idea that shared social values, rather than individual self-interests, makes social cooperation possible directed attention to the study of society in its own right rather than a by-product of individual action. The group rather than the individual would become the unit of analysis. Groups could not exist without individuals, but once individuals formed larger groups, the groups persist after the exit of the original members. The same holds true for a society: once it emerged, social life took on a life of its own by outlasting the death of old members and the entrance of new members´ (Ibid, p. 57). BOOK I PRELIMINARY QUESTIONS CHAPTER 1 DEFINITION OF RELIGIOUS PHENOMENA AND OF RELIGION I. Religion defined by the supernatural and mysterious²Criticism: the notion of mystery is not primitive II. Religion defined in connection with the idea of God or a spiritual being.²Religions without gods² Rites in deistic religions which imply no idea of divinity. III. Search for a positive definition²Distinction between beliefs and rites²Definition of beliefs²First characteristic: division of things between sacred and profane²Distinctive characteristics of this definition²Definition of rites in relation to beliefs²Definition of religion. ³The rites can be defined and distinguished from other human practices, moral practices, for example, only by the special nature of their object. A moral rule prescribes certain manners of acting to us, just as a rite does, are addressed to a different class of objects. So it is the object of the rite which must be characterized, if we are to characterize the rite itself. Now it is the beliefs that the special nature of this object is expressed. It is possible to define the rite only after we have defined the belief´ (Durkheim, 1912, p. 36). ³All known religious beliefs, whether simple or complex, present one common characteristic: they presuppose a classification of all the things, real and ideal, of which men think, into two classes or opposed groups, generally designated by two distinct terms which are translated well enough by the words profane and sacred (profane, sacré). This division of the world into two domains, the one containing all that is sacred, the other all that is profane, is the distinctive trait of religious thought; the belies, myths, dogmas and legends are either representations or systems of representations which express the nature of sacred things, the virtues and powers which are attributed to them, or their relations with each other and with profane things. But by sacred things one must not understand simply those personal beings which are called gods or spirits; a rock, a tree, a spring, a pebble, a piece of wood, a house, in a word, anything can be sacred. A rite can have this character; in fact, the rite does not exist which does not have it to a certain degree´ (Ibid, p. 37). IV. Necessity of another characteristic to distinguish magic from religion²The idea of Church²Do individualistic religions exclude the idea of a Church? ³The really religious beliefs are always common to a determined group, which makes profession of adhering to them and of practicing the rites connected with them. They are not merely received individually by all the members of this group; they are something belonging to the group, and they make its unity. The individuals which compose it feel themselves united to each other by the simple fact that they have a common faith. A society whose members are united by the fact that they think in


the same way in regard to the sacred world and its relations with the profane world, and by the fact that they translate these common ideas into common practices, is what is called a Church´ (Durkheim, 1912, p. 44). ³But if we leave these speculations in regard to the future aside for the moment, and confine ourselves to religions such as they are at present or have been in the past, it becomes clearly evident that these individual [personal] cults are not distinct and autonomous religious systems, but merely aspects of the common religion of the whole Church, of which the individuals are members« In a word, it is the Church of which he is a member which teaches the individual what these personal gods are, what their function is, how he should enter into relations with them and how he should honor them´ (Ibid, p. 46). ³A religion is a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things, that is to say, things set apart and forbidden²beliefs and practices which unite into one single moral community called a Church, all those who adhere to them« by showing that the idea of religion is inseparable from that of the Church, it makes it clear that religion should be an eminently collective thing´ (Ibid, p. 47). BOOK II THE ELEMENTARY BELIEFS CHAPTER 1 TOTEMIC BELIEFS The Totem as Name and as Emblem I. Definition of the clan²The totem as name of the clan²Nature of the things which serve as totems² Ways in which the totem is acquired²The totem of phratries; of matrimonial classes ³the individuals who compose [the clan] consider themselves united by a bond of kinship, but one which is of a very special nature. This relationship does not come from the fact that they have definite blood connections with one another; they are relatives from the mere fact that they have the same name. They are not fathers and mothers, sons or daughters, uncles or nephews of one another in the sense which we now give these words; yet they think of themselves as forming a single family, which is large or small according to the dimensions of the clan, merely because they are collectively designated by the same word. When we say that they regard themselves as a single family, we do so because they recognize duties towards each other which are identical with those which have always been incumbent upon kindred: such duties as aid, vengeance, mourning, the obligation not to marry among themselves, etc.´ (Durkheim, 1912, p. 102) ³that [the clan¶s] name is also the name of a determined species of material things with which it believes that it has very particular relations« they are especially relations of kinship. The species of things which serves to designate the clan collectively is called its totem. The totem of the clan is also that of each of its members´ (Ibid). ³Each clan has its totem, which belongs to it alone; two different clans of the same tribe cannot have the same. In fact, one is a member of a clan merely because he has a certain name. All who bear this name are members of it for that very reason; in whatever manner they may be spread over the tribal territory, they all have the same relations of kinship with one another. Consequently, two groups having the same totem can only be two sections of the same clan. Undoubtedly, it frequently happens that all of a clan does not reside in the same locality, but has representatives in several different places. However, this lack of a geographical basis does not cause its unity to be the less keenly felt´ (Ibid, pp. 102-103).


³In a very large proportion of the cases, the objects which serve as totems belong either to the animal or the vegetable kingdom, but especially to the former. Inanimate things are much more rarely employed´ (Ibid, p. 103). ³A phratry is a group of clans which are united to each other by particular bonds of fraternity´ (Ibid, p. 107). ³[The] phratry [is] an ancient clan which has been dismembered; the actual clans are the product of the dismemberment, and the solidarity which unites them is a souvenir of their primitive unity«each clan belongs to one and only one phratry; it is very exceptional that it has representatives in the other phratry« As a rule then, the two phratries do not overlap each other; consequently, the list of totems which an individual may have is predetermined by the phratry to which he belongs´ (Ibid, pp. 108109) ³[Matrimonial classes] designate certain subdivisions of phratry. Their recruiting and operation are regulated by the two following principles. In the first place, each generation in a phratry belongs to different clans from the immediately preceding one« Secondly, the members of one class can in principle marry into one of the classes of the other phratry´ (Ibid, p. 110). II. The totem as emblem²Totemic designs engraved or carved upon objects; tatooings or designs upon the body. III. Sacred character of the totemic emblem-The churinga²The nurtunja²The waninga²Conventional Character of totemic emblems. CHAPTER 2 TOTEMIC BELIEFS²(continued) The Totemic Animal and Man I. Sacred character of the totemic animals²Prohibition to eat them, kill them, or pick the totemic plants² Different moderations given these prohibitions²Prohibition of contact²The sacred character of the animal is less marked than of the emblem ³The profane function of vegetables and even of animals is ordinarily to serve as food; then the sacred character of the totemic animal or plant is shown by the fact that it is forbidden to eat them. It is true that since they are sacred things, they can enter into the composition of certain mystical repasts, and we shall see, in fact, that they sometimes serve as veritable sacraments; yet normally they cannot be used for everyday consumption. Whoever oversteps this rule, exposes himself to grave dangers. It is not that the group always intervenes to punish this infraction artificially; it is believed that the sacrilege produces death automatically. A redoubtable principle is held to reside in the totemic plant or animal, which cannot enter into the profane organism without disorganizing it or destroying it´ (Durkheim, 1912, p. 128). ³The figures of all sorts which represent the totem are surrounded with a respect sensibly superior to that inspired by the very being whose form these figures reproduce. The churinga, the nurtunja and the waninga can never be handled by the women or the uninitiated, who are even allowed to catch glimpses of it only very exceptionally, and from a respectful distance. On the other hand, the plant or animal whose name the clan bears may be seen and touched by everybody. The churinga are preserved in a sort of temple, upon whose threshold all noises from the profane life must cease; it is the domain of sacred things. On the contrary, the totemic animals and plants live in the profane world and are mixed up with the common everyday life. Since the number and importance of the interdictions which isolate a sacred thing, and keep it apart, correspond to the degree of sacredness


with which it is invested, we arrive at the remarkable conclusion that the images of totemic beings are more sacred than - the beings themselves. Also, in the ceremonies of the cult, it is the churinga and the nurtunja which have the most important place; the animal appears there only very exceptionally´ (Ibid, p. 133) II. The man²His relationship with the totemic animal or plant²Different myths explaining this relationship²The sacred character of the man is more apparent in certain parts of the organism; the blood, hair, etc.²How this character varies with sex and age²Totemism is not plant or animal worship. ³So we must be careful not to consider totemism a sort of animal worship. The attitude of a man towards the animals or plants whose name he bears is not at all that of a believer towards his god, for he belongs to the sacred world himself. Their relations are rather those of two beings who are on the same level and of equal value. The most that can be said is that in certain cases, at least, the animal seems to occupy a slightly more elevated place in the hierarchy of sacred things. It is because of this that it is sometimes called the father or the grandfather of the men of the clan, which seems to show that they feel themselves in a state of moral dependence in regard to it. But in other, and perhaps even more frequent cases, it happens that the expressions used denote rather a sentiment of equality. The totemic animal is called the friend or the elder brother of its human fellows.' Finally, the bonds which exist between them and it are much more like those which unite the members of a single family; the animals and the men are made of the same flesh« On account of this kinship, men regard the animals of the totemic species as kindly associates upon whose aid they think they can rely. They call them to their aid and they come, to direct their blows in the hunt and to give warning of whatever dangers there may be. In return for this, men treat them with regard and are never cruel to them; but these attentions in no way resemble a cult´ (Durkheim, 1912, pp. 139-140). ³[A] cult is not a simple group of ritual precautions which a man is held to take in certain circumstances ; it is a system of diverse rites, festivals and ceremonies which all have this characteristic, that they reappear periodically. They fulfill the need which the believer feels of strengthening and reaffirming, at regular intervals of time, the bond which unites him to the sacred beings upon which he depends. That is why one speaks of marriage rites but not of a marriage cult, of rites of birth but not of a cult of the new-born child ; it is because the events on the occasion of which these rites take place imply no periodicity. In the same way, there is no cult of the ancestors except when sacrifices are made on the tombs from time to time, when libations are poured there on certain more or less specific dates, or when festivals are regularly celebrated in honour of the dead´ (Ibid, p. 63). CHAPTER 3 TOTEMIC BELIEFS²(continued) The Cosmological System of Totemism and the Idea of Class I. The classification of things into clans, phratries[/]classes II. Genesis of the notion of class: the first classifications of things take their forms from society² Differences between the sentiment of the differences of things and the idea of class²Why this is of social origin ³In fact, these systematic classifications are the first we meet with in history, and we have just seen that they are modelled upon the social organization, or rather that they have taken the forms of society as their framework. It is the phratries which have served as classes, and the clans as species. It is because men were organized that they have been able to organize things, for in classifying these latter, they limited themselves to giving them places in the groups they formed themselves. And if these different classes of things are not merely put next to each other, but are arranged according to a


unified plan, it is because the social groups with which they commingle themselves are unified and, through their union, form an organic whole, the tribe. The unity of these first logical systems merely reproduces the unity of the society´ (Durkheim, 1912, pp. 144-145). ³Of course, we cannot always understand the obscure psychology which has caused many of these connections and distinctions, but the preceding examples are enough to show that a certain intuition of the resemblances and differences presented by things has played an important part in the genesis of these classifications´ (Ibid, pp. 146-147). ³In all probability, we would never have thought of uniting the beings of the universe into homogeneous groups, called classes, if we had not had the example of human societies before our eyes, if we had not even commenced by making things themselves members of men's society, and also if human groups and logical groups had not been confused at first´ (Ibid, pp. 147-148). III. Religious significance of these classifications: all of the things classified into a clan partake of the nature of the totem and its sacred character²The cosmological system of totemism²Totemism as the tribal religion ³since no known thing exists that is not classified in a clan and under a totem, there is likewise nothing which does not receive to some degree something of a religious character. When, in the religions which later come into being, the gods properly so-called appear, each of them will be set over a special category of natural phenomena, this one over the sea, that one over the air, another over the harvest or over fruits, etc., and each of these provinces of nature will be believed to draw what life there is in it from the god upon whom it depends. This division of nature among the different divinities constitutes the conception which these religions give us of the universe. Now so long as humanity has not passed the phase of totemism, the different totems of the tribe fulfill exactly the same functions that will later fall upon the divine personalities´ (Durkheim, 1912, pp. 153-153). ³the totemic organization, such as we have just described it, must obviously be the result of some sort of an indistinct understanding between all the members of the tribe. It is impossible that each clan should have made its beliefs in an absolutely independent manner; it is absolutely necessary that the cults of the different totems should be in some way adjusted to each other, since they complete one another exactly. In fact, we have seen that normally a single totem is not repeated twice in the same tribe, and that the whole universe is divided up among the totems thus constituted in such a way that the same object is not found in two different clans. So methodical a division could never have been made without an agreement, tacit or planned, in which the whole tribe participated. So the group of beliefs which thus arise are partially (but only partially) a tribal affair´ (Ibid, pp. 155-156).

CHAPTER 4 TOTEMIC BELIEFS²(end) The Individual Totem and the Sexual Totem
I. Individual totem as a forename; its sacred character²Individual totem as personal emblem²Bonds between the man and his individual totem²Relations with the collective totem ³The Totem is the patron of the clan, just as the patron of the individual is his personal totem´ (Durkheim, 1912, p. 161) ³While the clan believes that [the individual totem] is the offspring of the animal or plant serving it as totem, the individual does not believe that he has any relationship of descent with his personal totem. It is a friend, an associate, a protector; but it is not a relative´ (Ibid, p. 161)


³The collective totem is a part of the civil status of each individual: it is generally hereditary; in any case, it is birth which designates it, and the wish of mean counts for nothing« the individual totem is acquired by a deliberate act; a whole series of ritual operations are necessary to determine it´ (Ibid, p. 161-162). ³Not only is the individual totem acquired and not given, but ordinarily the acquisition of one is not obligatory« So among certain peoples, at least, the individual totem seems to be considered an advantage and convenient thing rather than a necessity´ (Ibid, p. 164).

II. The totems of sexual groups²Resemblances and differences with the collective and individual totems²Their tribal nature
³So it was a great ancestor. But in other ways, this same totem resembles the individual totem. In fact, it is believed that each member of a sexual group is personally united to a determined individual of the corresponding animal species. The two lives are so closely associated that the death of the animal brings about that of the man´ (Durkheim, 1912, p. 166). ³Finally, the really original feature of these totems is that they are, in a sense, a sort of tribal totems. In fact, they result from men's representing the tribe as descended as a whole from one couple of mythical beings. Such a belief seems to demonstrate clearly that the tribal sentiment has acquired sufficient force to resist, at least to a considerable extent, the particularism of the clans´ (Ibid).

CHAPTER 6 ORIGINS OF THESE BELIEFS²(continued) The Notion of the Totemic Principle, or Mana, and the Idea of Force I. The notion of the totemic force or principle²Its ubiquity²Its character at once physical and moral
³In other words, totemism is the religion, not of such and such animals or men or images, but of an anonymous and impersonal force, found in each of these beings but not to be confounded with any of them. No one possesses it entirely and all participate in it. It is so completely independent of the particular subjects in whom it incarnates itself, that it precedes them and survives them. Individuals die, generations pass and are replaced by others; but this force always remains actual, living and the same. It animates the generations of today as it animated those of yesterday and as it will animate those of to-morrow. Taking the words in a larger sense, we may say that it is the god adored by each totemic cult. Yet it is an impersonal god, without a name or history, immanent in the world and diffused in an innumerable multitude of things´ (Durkheim, 1912, p. 188-189). ³Moreover, the totem is the source of the moral life of the clan. All the beings partaking of the same totemic principle consider that owing to this very fact, they are morally bound to one another; they have definite duties of assistance, vendetta, etc., towards each other; and it is these duties which constitute kinship. So while the totemic principle is a totemic force, it is also a moral power´ (Ibid, p. 191).

II. Analogous conceptions in other inferior societies²The gods in Samoa, the wakan of the Sioux, the orenda of the Iroqouis, the mana of Melanesia²Connection of these notions with totemism²The Arunkulta of the Arunta III. Logical priority of impersonal force over the different mythical personalities²Recent theories which tend to admit this priority


³The real totemic cult is addressed neither to certain determined animals nor to certain vegetables nor even to an animal or vegetable species, but to a vague power spread through these things. Even in the most advanced religions which have developed out of totemism, such as those which we find among the North American Indians, this idea, instead of being effaced, becomes more conscious of itself ; it is declared with a clarity it did not have before, while at the same time, it attains a higher generality. It is this which dominates the entire religious system´ (Durkheim, 1912, p. 199). ³We are now in a better condition to understand why it has been impossible to define religion by the idea of mythical personalities, gods or spirits ; it is because this way of representing religious things is in no way inherent in their nature. What we find at the origin and basis of religious thought are not determined and distinct objects and beings possessing a sacred character of themselves ; they are indefinite powers, anonymous forces, more or less numerous in different societies, and sometimes even reduced to a unity, and whose impersonality is strictly comparable to that of the physical forces whose manifestations the sciences of nature study. As for particular sacred things, they are only individualized forms of this essential principle. So it is not surprising that even in the religions where there are avowed divinities, there are rites having an efficient virtue in themselves, independently of all divine intervention. It is because this force may be attached to words that are pronounced or movements that are made just as well as to corporal substances; the voice or the movements may serve as its vehicle, and it may produce its effects through their intermediacy, without the aid of any god or spirit. Even should it happen to concentrate itself especially in a rite, this will become a creator of divinities from that very fact. This is why there is scarcely a divine personality who does not retain some impersonality. Those who represent it most clearly in a concrete and visible form, think of it, at the same time, as an abstract power which cannot be defined except by its own efficacy, or as a force spread out in space and which is contained, at least in part, in each of its effects´ (Ibid, p. 200).

IV. The notion of religious force is the prototype of that of force in general
³The concept of mana is applied only to those that are important enough to cause reflection, and to awaken a minimum of interest and curiosity; but they are not marvellous for all that. And what is true of the mana as well as the orenda and wakan, may be said equally well of the totemic principle. It is through this that the life of the men of the clan and the animals or plants of the totemic species, as well as all the things which are classified under the totem and partake of its nature, is manifested´ (Durkheim, 1912, p. 204). ³So the idea of force is of religious origin. It is from religion that it has been borrowed, first by philosophy, then by the sciences´ (Ibid).

CHAPTER 7 ORIGINS OF THESE BELIEFS²(end) Origin of the Idea of the Totemic Principle or Mana I. The totemic principle is the clan, but thought of under a more empirical form
³From the analysis to which we have been giving our attention, it is evident that [the totem] expresses and symbolizes two different sorts of things. In the first place, it is the outward and visible form of what we have called the totemic principle or god. But it is also the symbol of the determined society called the clan. It is its flag; it is the sign by which each clan distinguishes itself from the others, the visible mark of its personality, a mark borne by everything which is a part of the clan under any title whatsoever, men, beasts or things. So if it is at once the symbol of the god and of the society, is that not because the god and the society are only one? How could the emblem of the group have been able to become the figure of this quasi-divinity, if the group and - the divinity were two distinct realities? The god of the clan, the totemic principle, can therefore be nothing else than the clan itself,


personified and represented to the imagination under the visible form of the animal or vegetable which serves as totem´ (Durkheim, 1912, p. 206). II. General reasons for which society is apt to awaken the sensation of the sacred and the divine²Society as an imperative moral force; the notion of moral authority²Society as a force which raises the individual outside of himself²Facts which prove that society creates the sacred ³This hypothesis -- that god is nothing more than society apotheosized--was supported by a number of characteristically Durkheimian arguments. It was insisted, for example, that a society has all that is necessary to arouse the idea of the divine, for it is to its members what a god is to his worshippers. It is both physically and morally superior to individuals, and thus they both fear its power and respect its authority; but society cannot exist except in and through the individual conscience, and thus it both demands our sacrifices and periodically strengthens and elevates the divine "principle" within each of us -- especially during periods of collective enthusiasm, when its power is particularly perceptible´ (Jones, 1986). ³There are periods in history when under the influence of some great collective shock, social interactions have become much more frequent and active. Men look for each other and assemble more than ever. That general effervescence results which is characteristic of revolutionary or creative epochs. Now this greater activity results in a general stimulation of individual forces. Men see more and differently now than in normal times. Changes are not merely of shades and degrees; men become different. The passions moving them are of such an intensity that they cannot be satisfied except by violent and unrestrained actions, actions of superhuman heroism or of bloody barbarism´ (Durkheim, 1912, pp. 210-211). III. Reasons peculiar to Australian societies²The two phases through which the life of these societies alternately passes: dispersion, concentration²Great collective effervescence during the periods of concentration²Examples²How the religious idea is born out o this effervescence²Why collective force has been thought of under totemic forms; it is the totem that is the emblem of the clan² Explanation of the principal totemic beliefs ³The life of the Australian societies passes alternately through two distinct phases. Sometimes the population is broken up into little groups who wander about independently of one another, in their various occupations; each family lives by itself, hunting and fishing, and in a word, trying to procure its indispensable food by all the means in its power. Sometimes, on the contrary, the population concentrates and gathers at determined points for a length of time varying from several days to several months. This concentration takes place when a clan or a part of the tribe is summoned to the gathering, and on this occasion they celebrate a religious ceremony, or else hold what is called a corrobbori in the usual ethnological language´ (Durkheim, 1912, p. 215). ³How could this image, repeated everywhere and in all sorts of forms, fail to stand out with exceptional relief in his mind? Placed thus in the centre of the scene, it becomes representative. The sentiments experienced fix themselves upon it, for it is the only concrete object upon which they can fix themselves. It continues to bring them to mind and to evoke them even after the assembly has dissolved, for it survives the assembly, being carved upon the instruments of the cult, upon the sides of rocks, upon bucklers, etc. By it, the emotions experienced are perpetually sustained and revived. Everything happens just as if they inspired them directly. It is still more natural to attribute them to it for, since they are common to the group, they can be associated only with something that is equally common to all. Now the totemic emblem is the only thing satisfying this condition. By definition, it is common to all. During the ceremony, it is the centre of all regards. While generations change, it remains the same; it is the permanent element of the social life. So it is from it that those mysterious forces seem to emanate with which men feel that they are related, and thus they have been led to


represent these forces under the form of the animate or inanimate being whose name the clan bears´ (Ibid, p. 221). IV. Religion is not the product of fear²It expresses something real²Its essential idealism²This idealism is a general characteristic of collective mentality²Explanation of the external character of religious forces in relation to their subjects²The principle that the part is equal to the whole ³In fact, we can say that the believe is not deceived when he believes in the existence of a moral power upon which he depends and from which he receives all that is best in himself: this power exists, it is society´ (Durkheim, 1912, p. 225). ³That is why we can rest assured in advance that the practices of the cult, whatever they may be, are something more than movements without importance and gestures without efficacy. By the mere fact that their apparent function is to strengthen the bonds attaching the believer to his god, they at the same time really strengthen the bonds attaching the individual to the society of which he is a member, since the god is only a figurative expression of the society´ (Ibid, p. 226). ³Religious force is only the sentiment inspired by the group in its members, but projected outside of the consciousnesses that experience them, and objectified. To be objectified, they are fixed upon some object which thus becomes sacred; but any object might fulfil this function. In principle, there are none whose nature predestines them to it to the exclusion of all others; but also there are none that are necessarily impossible. Everything depends upon the circumstances which lead the sentiment creating religious ideas to establish itself here or there, upon this point or upon that one. Therefore, the sacred character assumed by an object is not implied in the intrinsic properties of this latter: it is added to them. The world of religious things is not one particular aspect of empirical nature; it is superimposed upon it´ (Ibid, p. 229). V. Origin of the notion of emblem: emblems a necessary condition of collective representations²Why the clan has taken its emblems from the animal and vegetable kingdoms ³It seems probable to us that the emblem has played a more important part than the name. In any case, the written sign still holds a more central place in the life of the clan to-day than does the spoken sign. Now the basis of an emblematic image can be found only in something susceptible of being represented by a design. On the other hand, these things had to be those with which the men of the clan were the most immediately and habitually coming in contact. Animals fulfilled this condition to a pre-eminent degree. For these nations of hunters and fishers, the animal constituted an essential element of the economic environment. In this connection plants had only a secondary place, for they can hold only a secondary place as food as long as they are not cultivated. Moreover, the animal is more closely associated with the life of men than the plant is, if only because of the natural kinship uniting these two to each other. On the other hand, the sun, moon and stars are too far away, they give the effect of belonging to another world. Also, as long as the constellations were not distinguished and classified, the starry vault did not offer a sufficient diversity of clearly differentiated things to be able to mark all the clans and subclans of a tribe ; but, on the contrary, the variety of the flora, and especially of the fauna, was almost inexhaustible. Therefore celestial bodies, in spite of their brilliancy and the sharp impression they make upon the senses, were unfitted for the rôle of totems, while animals and plants seemed predestined to it´ (Durkheim, 1912, p. 233-234). ³An observation of Strehlow even allows us to state precisely the way in which these emblems were probably chosen. He says that he has noticed that the totemic centres are generally situated near a mountain, spring or gorge where the animals serving as totems to the group gather in abundance, and he cites a certain number of examples of this fact. Now these totemic centres are surely the consecrated places where the meetings of the clan are held. So it seems as though each group had


taken as its insignia the animal or plant that was the commonest in the vicinity of the place where it had the habit of meeting´ (Ibid, p. 234).

³Throughout his discussion of the nature and causes of totemic beliefs, Durkheim insisted that no idea of the soul, spirits, or gods plays any role. In order to complete this discussion, therefore, it was necessary to show how such ideas -- universal among the known religions -- could have evolved out of "the more essential conceptions" just described. Every known society, for example, acknowledges the existence of the human soul -- a second, ethereal self, which dwells within and animates the body; and since the Australian aborigines provide the most primitive instance of this belief, Durkheim's search for its origin began by asking how the aborigines themselves explained it´ (Jones, 1986). ³According to the Australians, Durkheim observed, the souls which enter and animate the bodies of new-born children are not "special and original creations"; on the contrary, they are the old souls of dead ancestors of the clan, whose reincarnation explains the phenomena of conception and birth. To such ancestors superhuman powers and virtues are attributed, rendering them sacred; and most important, they are conceived under the form not of men, but of animals and plants. Durkheim thus concluded that the human soul is simply a form of "individualized mana," the totemic principle incarnate, and the most primitive form of that conception of the "duality of human nature" which has perplexed the philosophers and theologians of more advanced societies for centuries´ (Jones, 1986). Alcheringa or mythical period Immortality of the soul explaining conception, reincarnation, and birth; representing the truth that society continues to live while individuals must die. The collective soul, the body creating separate personalities; ³But whatever we receive from society, we hold in common with our companions. So it is not at all true that we are more personal as we are more individualized. The two terms are in no way synonymous: in one sense, they oppose more than they imply one another. Passion individualizes, yet it also enslaves. Our sensations are essentially individual; yet we are more personal the more we are freed from our senses and able to think and act with concepts. So those who insist upon all the social elements of the individual do not mean by that to deny or debase the personality. They merely refuse to confuse it with the fact of individuation´ (Durkheim, 1912, p. 272).

I. Difference between a soul and a spirit²The souls of the mythical ancestor as spirits, having determined functions²Relations between the ancestral spirit, the individual soul and the individual totem² Explanation of this latter²Its sociological significance Spirits and magic The civilizing heroes The great gods²Their origin²Their relations with the totemic system²Their tribal and international character Unity of the totemic system [international god]



³Sacred things, as we have seen, are those rather dramatically separated from their profane counterparts; and a substantial group of totemic rites has as its object the realization of this essential state of separation. In so far as these rites merely prohibit certain actions or impose certain abstentions, they consist entirely of interdictions or "taboos"; and thus Durkheim described the system formed by these rites as the "negative cult." The interdictions characterizing these rites were in turn divided into two classes: those separating the sacred from the profane, and those separating sacred things from one another according to their "degree of sacredness"; and even the first class alone assumes a variety of forms -- certain foods are forbidden to profane persons because they are sacred, while others are forbidden to sacred persons because they are profane; certain objects cannot be touched or even looked at; certain words or sounds cannot be uttered; and certain activities, particularly those of an economic or utilitarian character, are forbidden during periods when religious ceremonies are being performed. For all their diversity, however, Durkheim argued that all these forms are reducible to two fundamental interdictions: the religious life and the profane life cannot coexist in the same place, and they cannot coexist in the same unit of time´ (Jones, 1986). ³Although literally defined in terms of these interdictions, however, the negative cult also exercises a "positive" function -- it is the condition of access to the positive cult. Precisely because of the abyss which separates sacred things from their profane counterparts, the individual cannot enter into relations with the first without ridding himself of the second. In the initiation ceremony, for example, the neophyte is submitted to a large variety of negative rites whose net effect is to produce a radical alteration of his moral and religious character, to "sanctify" him through his suffering, and ultimately to admit him to the sacred life of the clan. But here, again, religion is only the symbolic form of society which, while augmenting our powers and enabling us to transcend ourselves, demands our sacrifice and self-abnegation, suppresses our instincts, and does violence to our natural inclinations. There is a ruthless asceticism in all social life, Durkheim argued, which is the source of all religious asceticism´ (Ibid). ³The peculiar attribute of sacred things which renders them, in particular, the objects of the negative cult is what Durkheim called "the contagiousness of the sacred" -- religious forces easily escape their original locations and flow, almost irresistibly, to any objects within their range. In so doing, of course, they contradict their own essential nature, which is to remain separated from the profane; and thus a whole system of restrictions is necessary in order to keep the two worlds apart´ (Ibid).

CHAPTER 2 THE POSITIVE CULT I-The Elements of Sacrifice
³In central Australia, Durkheim explained, there are two sharply divided seasons: one is long and dry, the other short and very rainy. When the second arrives, the vegetation springs up from the ground, the animals multiply, and what had been a sterile desert abounds with luxurious flora and fauna; and it is at the moment when this "good" season seems near at hand that the Intichiuma is celebrated. Every totemic clan has its own Intichiuma, and the celebration itself has two phases. The object of the first is to assure the abundance of that animal or plant which serves as the clan's totem, an object obtained by striking together certain sacred stones (sometimes drenched with the blood of clan members), thus detaching and scattering grains of dust which assure the fertility of the animal or plant species. The second phase begins with an intensification of the interdictions of the negative cult -clan members who could ordinarily eat their totemic animal or plant if they did so in moderation now


find that it cannot be eaten or even touched -- and concludes with a solemn ceremony in which representatives of the newly increased totemic species are ritually slaughtered and eaten by the clan members, after which the exceptional interdictions are lifted and the clan returns to its normal existence´ (Jones, 1986). ³To Durkheim, the significance of this system of rites was that it seemed to contain the essential elements of the most fundamental rite of the higher religions -- sacrifice; and equally important, it seemed in large part to confirm the revolutionary theory of the meaning of that rite put forward by Robertson Smith« that the earliest offerings were "gifts" presented to the god by his worshippers; but such a theory, Durkheim observed, failed to account for two important features of the rite: that its substance was food, and that this food was shared by both gods and worshippers at a common feast. Noting that in many societies such commensality is believed to create (and re-create) a bond of kinship, Smith had suggested that the earliest sacrifices were less acts of renunciation and expiation than joyous feasts, in which the bond of kinship uniting gods and worshippers was periodically reaffirmed by participation in the common flesh´ (Ibid). ³Insisting (pace Smith) that it was participation in sacred flesh that rendered the rite efficacious, Durkheim argued that the ceremony concluding the second phase of the Intichiuma was precisely such a rite; and in the Australian rite, he added, the object of such communion was clear -- the periodic revivification of that "totemic principle" (society) which exists within each member of the clan and is symbolized by the sacrificial animal or plant. This in turn explained the temporal aspect of the rite -- the totemic principle would seem most thoroughly exhausted after a long, dry period, and most completely renewed just after the arrival of the "good season," (Ibid). ³The only way of renewing the collective representations which relate to sacred beings is to retemper them in the very source of the religious life, that is to say, in the assembled groups. Now the emotions aroused by these periodical crises through which external things pass induce the men who witness them to assemble, to see what should be done about it. But by the very fact of uniting, they are mutually comforted; they find a remedy because they seek it together. The common faith becomes reanimated quite naturally in the heart of this reconstituted group; it is born again because it again finds those very conditions in which it was born in the first place. After it has been restored, it easily triumphs over all the private doubts which may have arisen in individual minds. The image of the sacred things regains power enough to resist the internal or external causes which tended to weaken it. In spite of their apparent failure, men can no longer believe that the gods will die, because they feel them living in their own hearts. The means employed to succour them, howsoever crude these may be, cannot appear vain, for everything goes on as if they were really effective. Men are more confident because they feel themselves stronger; and they really are stronger, because forces which were languishing are now reawakened in the consciousness´ (Durkheim, 1912, p. 346).

CHAPTER 3 THE POSITIVE CULT²(continued) II²Imitative Rites and the Principle of Causality
³The principle "like produces like" thus has its origin in collective representations rather than the association of ideas in the individual mind, a fact of as much interest to the history of science as to the history of religion and magic; for Durkheim insisted that this principle was itself a primitive version of the more recent, scientific law of causality. Consider the two essential elements of that law: first, it presumes the idea of efficacy, of an active force capable of producing some effect; and second, it presupposes an a priori judgment that this cause produces its effect necessarily. The prototype of the first idea, as we have seen, is that collective force conceived by primitive peoples under the name of mana, wakan, orenda, etc., and then objectified and projected into things. The second is explained


by the fact that the periodic reproduction of the totemic species is a matter of great concern to the clan, and the rites assumed to effect it are thus obligatory. What is obligatory in action, however, cannot remain optional in thought; thus society imposes a logical precept -- like produces like -- as an extension of the ritual precept essential to its well-being...´ (Jones, 1986).

CHAPTER 4 THE POSITIVE CULT²(continue) III²Representative or Commemorative Rites
³«Durkheim turned to those "representative" or "commemorative" rites found in the Intichiuma of the Warramunga tribe (but which Durkheim insisted were "implicit" in the Arunta rite as well), for these rites contained no gesture whose object was the reproduction of the totemic species, consisting entirely of dramatic representations designed to recall the mythical history of the clan. But a mythology, Durkheim observed, is a moral system and a cosmology as well as a history; thus, "the rite serves and can serve only to sustain the vitality of these beliefs, to keep them from being effaced from memory and, in sum, to revivify the most essential elements of the collective consciousness." So the efficacy of the rites, again, was moral, religious, and social rather than economic, magical, and material. Indeed, Durkheim insisted that here we see the origin of the aesthetic element in the higher religions -- all that is artistic, expressive, and re-creative, rather than economic and utilitarian -which, far from being a trivial accoutrement, plays an essential role in the religious life´ (Jones, 1986).

³Durkheim concluded his treatment of the positive cult with a discussion of "piacular" rites -- those which, in sharp contrast to the confident, joyous celebrations just described, are characterized by sadness, fear, and anger. Such rites ordinarily follow some disaster that has befallen the clan (the death of one of its members), and may involve the knocking out of teeth, severing of fingers, burning of skin, or any number of other self-inflicted tortures; but Durkheim insisted« that none of these acts were the spontaneous expression of individual emotion. On the contrary, such "mourning" appeared to be a duty imposed by the group and sanctioned by severe penalties, which the primitive says are required by the souls of ancestors; but in fact, Durkheim argued, the obligatory character of these rites is to be explained in the same way as their more joyous counterparts -- when someone dies, the clan assembles, thus giving rise to collective representations which reflect its sense of loss while simultaneously reaffirming the sense of its own permanence and solidarity´ (Jones, 1986). ³We have seen, in fact, that the evil powers are the product of these rites and symbolize them. When a society is going through circumstances which sadden, perplex or irritate it, it exercises a pressure over its members, to make them bear witness, by significant acts, to their sorrow, perplexity or anger. It imposes upon them the duty of weeping, groaning or inflicting wounds upon themselves or others, for these collective manifestations, and the moral communion which they show and strengthen, restore to the group the energy which circumstances threaten to take away from it, and thus they enable it to become settled. This is the experience which men interpret when they imagine that outside them there are evil beings whose hostility, whether constitutional or temporary, can be appeased only by human suffering. These beings are nothing other than collective states objectified; they are society itself seen under one of its aspects. But we also knew that the benevolent powers are constituted in the same way ; they, too, result from the collective life and express it ; they, too, represent the society, but seen from a very different attitude, to wit, at the moment when it confidently affirms itself and ardently presses on towards the realization of the ends which it pursues. Since these two sorts of forces have a common origin, it is not at all surprising that, though facing in opposite directions, they should have


the same nature, that they are equally intense and contagious and consequently forbidden and sacred´ (Durkheim, 1912, pp. 412-413). ³Howsoever complex the outward manifestations of the religious life may be, at bottom it is one and simple. It responds everywhere to one and the same need, and is everywhere derived from one and the same mental state. In all its forms, its object is to raise man above himself and to make him lead a life superior to that which he would lead, if he followed only his own individual whims : beliefs express this life in representations ; rites organize it and regulate its working´ (Ibid, p. 414).

To what extent the results obtained may be generalized I. Religion rests upon an experience that is well founded but not privileged²Necessity of a science to reach the reality at the bottom of this experience²What is this reality?²The human groups²Human meaning of religion²Concerning the objection which opposes the ideal society to the real society ³In fact, they feel that the real function of religion is not to make us think, to enrich our knowledge, nor to add to the conceptions which we owe to science others of another origin and another character, but rather, it is to make us act, to aid us to live. The believer who has communicated with his god is not merely a man who sees new truths of which the unbeliever is ignorant; he is a man who is stronger. He feels within him more force, either to endure the trials of existence, or to conquer them. It is as though he were raised above the miseries of the world, because he is raised above his condition as a mere man; he believes that he is saved from evil, under whatever form he may conceive this evil. The first article in every creed is the belief in salvation by faith´ (Durkheim, 1912, p. 416). ³If religion has given birth to all that is essential in society, it is because the idea of society is the soul of religion´ (Ibid, p. 419). ³A society can neither create itself nor recreate itself without at the same time creating an ideal. This creation is not a sort of work of supererogation for it, by which it would complete itself, being already formed; it is the act by which it is periodically made and remade. Therefore when some oppose the ideal society to the real society, like two antagonists which would lead us in opposite directions, they materialize and oppose abstractions. The ideal society is not outside of the real society ; it is a part of it. Far from being divided between them as between two poles which mutually repel each other, we cannot hold to one without holding to the other. For a society is not made up merely of the mass of individuals who compose it, the ground which they occupy, the things which they use and the movements which they perform, but above all is the idea which it forms of itself´ (Ibid, p. 422). ³Therefore it is necessary to avoid seeing in this theory of religion a simple restatement of historical materialism: that would be misunderstanding our thought to an extreme degree. In showing that religion is something essentially social, we do not mean to say that it confines itself to translating into another language the material forms of society and its immediate vital necessities. It is true that we take it as evident that social life depends upon its material foundation and bears its mark, just as the mental life of an individual depends upon his nervous system and in fact his whole organism. But collective consciousness is something more than a mere epiphenomenon of its morphological basis, just as individual consciousness is something more than a simple efflorescence of the nervous system. In order that the former may appear, a synthesis sui generis of particular consciousnesses is required. Now this synthesis has the effect of disengaging a whole world of sentiments, ideas and images which, once born, obey laws all their own. They attract each other, repel each other, unite, divide themselves, and multiply, though these combinations are not commanded and necessitated by the condition of the underlying reality. The life thus brought into being even enjoys so great an


independence that it sometimes indulges in manifestations with no purpose or utility of any sort, for the mere pleasure of affirming itself. We have shown that this is often precisely the case with ritual activity and mythological thought´ (Ibid, p. 433-444). How religious individualism and cosmopolitanism are explained in this theory II. The eternal element in religion²Concerning the conflict between science and religion; it has to do solely with the speculative side of religion²What this side seems destined to become ³Thus there is something eternal in religion which is destined to survive all the particular symbols in which religious thought has successively enveloped itself. There can be no society which does not feel the need of upholding and reaffirming at regular intervals the collective sentiments and the collective ideas which make its unity and its personality. Now this moral remaking cannot be achieved except by the means of reunions, assemblies and meetings where the individuals, being closely united to one another, reaffirm in common their common sentiments ; hence come ceremonies which do not differ from regular religious ceremonies, either in their object, the results which they produce, or the processes employed to attain these results. What essential difference is there between an assembly of Christians celebrating the principal dates of the life of Christ, or of Jews remembering the exodus from Egypt or the promulgation of the decalogue, and a reunion of citizens commemorating the promulgation of a new moral or legal system or some great event in the national life?´ (Durkheim, 1912, p. 427). ³In a word, the old gods are growing old or already dead, and others are not yet born´ (Ibid). ³But if religion is thus a mode of action, it is also a mode of thought -- one not different in kind from that exercised by science. Like science, for example, religion reflects on nature, man, and society, attempts to classify things, relates them to one another, and explains them; and as we have seen, even the most essential categories of scientific thought are religious in origin. Scientific thought, in short, is but a more perfect form of religious thought; and Durkheim thus felt that the latter would gradually give way before the inexorable advances of the former, including those advances in the social sciences extending to the scientific study of religion itself. In so far as it remains a mode of action, however, religion will endure, albeit under yet unforeseen forms´ (Jones, 1986). III. How has society been able to be the source of logical, that is to say conceptual, thought? Definition of the concept: not to be confounded with the general idea; characterized by its impersonality and communicability bears witness in the same sense²Collective representations as types of ideas which individuals accept²In regard to the objection that they are impersonal only on condition of being true²Conceptual thought is coeval with humanity ³Science is thus religious in its origins; but if religion is itself only the apotheosis of society, then all logical, scientific thought originates in society. How is this possible? All logical thought, Durkheim explained, is made up of concepts -- generalized ideas which are distinguished from sensations by two important characteristics. First, they are relatively stable -- unlike our sensations, which succeed one another in a never-ending flux and cannot repeat themselves, our concepts remain the same for long periods of time. Second, they are impersonal -- again unlike our sensations, which are held privately and cannot be communicated, our concepts are not only communicable but provide the necessary means by which all communication becomes possible. These two characteristics in turn reveal the origin of conceptual thought. Since concepts are held in common and bear the mark of no individual mind, they are clearly the products of the collective mind; and if they have greater permanence and stability than our individual sensations, it is because they are collective representations, which respond much more slowly to environmental conditions. It is only through society, therefore, that men become capable of logical thought -- indeed, of stable, impersonal "truth"


altogether; and this explains why the "correct" manipulation of such concepts carries a moral authority unknown to mere personal opinion and private experience´ (Jones, 1986). ³[It] is not at all true that concepts, even when constructed according to the rules of science, get their authority uniquely from their objective value. It is not enough that they be true to be believed. If they are not in harmony with the other beliefs and opinions, or, in a word, with the mass of the other collective representations, they will be denied; minds will be closed to them; consequently it will be as though they did not exist. To-day it is generally sufficient that they bear the stamp of science to receive a sort of privileged credit, because we have faith in science. But this faith does not differ essentially from religious faith. In the last resort, the value which we attribute to science depends upon the idea which we collectively form of its nature and rôle in life; that is as much as to say that it expresses a state of public opinion. In all social life, in fact, science rests upon opinion´ (Durkheim, 1912, p. 438). IV. How the categories express social things²The chief category is the concept of totality which could be suggested only by society²Why the relations expressed by the categories could become conscious only in society²Society is not an a logical being²How the categories tend to detach themselves from geographically determined groups ³[Categories] not only come from society, but the things which they express are of a social nature. Not only is it society which has founded them, but their contents are the different aspects of the social being : the category of class was at first indistinct from the concept of the human group ; it is the rhythm of social life which is at the basis of the category of time ; the territory occupied by the society furnished the material for the category of space ; it is the collective force which was the prototype of the concept of efficient force, an essential element in the category of causality. However, the categories are not made to be applied only to the social realm; they reach out to all reality´ Durkheim, 1912, p. 440). ³In summing up, then, we must say that society is not at the illogical or a-logical, incoherent and fantastic being which it has too often been considered. Quite on the contrary, the collective consciousness is the highest form of the psychic life, since it is the consciousness of the consciousnesses. Being placed outside of and above individual and local contingencies, it sees things only in their permanent and essential aspects, which it~ crystallizes into communicable ideas. At the same time that it sees from above, it sees farther; at every moment of time, it embraces all known reality ; that is why it alone can furnish the mind with the moulds which are applicable to the totality of things and which make it possible to think of them´ (Ibid, p. 444). ³If logical thought tends to rid itself more and more of the subjective and personal elements which it still retains from its origin, it is not because extra-social factors have intervened ; it is much rather because a social life of a new sort is developing. It is this international life which has already resulted in universalizing religious beliefs. As it extends, the collective horizon enlarges; the society ceases to appear as the only whole, to become a part of a much vaster one, with indetermined frontiers, which is susceptible of advancing indefinitely. Consequently things can no longer be contained in the social moulds according to which they were primitively classified ; they must be organized according to principles which are their own, so logical organization differentiates itself from the social organization and becomes autonomous. Really and truly human thought is not a primitive fact ; it is the product of history ; it is the ideal limit towards which we are constantly approaching, but which in all probability we shall never succeed in reaching´ (Ibid, p. 445). ³In a word, there is something impersonal in us because there is something social in all of us, and since social life embraces at once both representations and practices, this impersonality naturally extends to ideas as well as to acts´ (Ibid, p. 446).


Figure 13-2 Durkheim¶s Model of Religious Evolution (Turner et. al., 1995, p. 339)

A Churinga (

A tribe in Mount Gambier, Australia (Durkheim, 1912, p. 142) Phratries Clans Things Classified in Each Clan Fish-hawk «««««««««« Smoke, honeysuckle, certain trees, etc. Pelican «««««««««««. Blackwood-trees, dogs, fire, frost, etc. KUMITE Crow «««««««««««« Rain, thunder, lightning, clouds, hail, winter, etc. Black cockatoo ««««««««. The stars, the moon, etc. A non-poisonous snake ««««« Fist, seal, eel, the stringybark-tree, etc. Tea-tree ««««««««««« Duck, crayfish, owls, etc. KROKI An edible root ««««««««. Bustard, quail, a small kangaroo, etc. A white crestless cockatoo «««.. Kangaroo, the summer, the sun, wind, the autumn, etc. Details are lacking for the fourth and fifth Kroki clans


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