Religion and solidarity
DOI link for Religion and solidarity
Religion and solidarity book
The most outstanding ‘sociological’ theorist and one who has exercised an enormous influence on the sociology of religion is Emile Durkheim. Some of his ideas and aspects of his approach were influenced by those of the earlier but rather less well-known W Robertson Smith in his study of ancient Semitic religion in Lectures on the Religion of the Semites published in 1889. A point to note about Smith is the emphasis he placed upon the obligatory nature of religious observance in most societies. Religion, Robertson Smith claimed, has two functions: regulative and stimulative. There have been many criticisms of Durkheim’s account of religion but they can be broadly divided into three kinds: methodological, theoretical, and ethnographic/empirical. A central problem with Durkheim’s thesis is the way he characterises the nature of the divine and of society and the relationship between them. Society, powerful as it is, does not have the primacy that Durkheim believes it has.