chapter  5
Social Theory: From Society to Cosmos
ByPhilip Wexler
Pages 18

The social begins and always returns to religion for its definition. Society is based on a process of religious revitalization. But Durkheim's model of the social as quintessentially a process of religious revitalization is not the same as people's view of revitalization. For Durkheim, religion is the basic social phenomenon "from which all others — or at least almost all others are derived". The religious process, and thus the social process, is primarily an alternating wave of concentration and dispersion of social energy. Durkheim is a proud dualist. "The duality of the nature", he wrote, "is thus only a particular case of that division of things into the sacred and the profane that is the foundation of all religions, and it must be explained on the basis of the same principles". Social energy is in the in-between; social revitalization in a life of "dialogue" is proposed against the model of an orgiastic beginning.