chapter  10
10 Pages

Religion and solidarity: the functionalists

Emile Durkheim’s The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life had a great deal of influence and many sociologists and particularly anthropologists took up and applied Durkheim’s ideas. One such was A.R.Radcliffe-Brown who did much to establish functionalism as the dominant perspective in anthropology and sociology. His essential ideas on religion are contained in his ethnographic monograph of his fieldwork in the Andaman Islands (1922) and in his Henry Myers lecture of 1945 on ‘Religion and Society’. These were applied to totemism (1929) and taboo (1939).1