SACROSANCT OR SECULAR? : A CRITICAL STUDY OF EMILE DURKHEIM’S FUNCTIONALIST PERSPECTIVE ON RELIGION

Sukriti Bhukkal

Abstract


Among the schools of thought on religion that have developed within the purview of sociology, functionalism has been associated with Emile Durkheim. It describes religion with regard to the requirements of the society and the role it plays in their fulfillment. Religion is a dichotomous concept and tends to rely on the differentiation between two categories of the sacred and the profane. The system of mystical attachment with an object whether animate or inanimate, is actually the veneration of the society itself. Totemism finds its expression amidst the Australian Aborigines and the tribal in India. Shared core principles and value consensus are essential for the existence of the society in its cohesive form.  While religion reinforces the interdependence of individual entities within a society and has exhibited unifying characteristics, it also has been a source of division and a cause of friction.  Despite what may seem sometimes to be a dysfunctional role, religion and the functional status ascribed to it  continues to be relevant especially, in simpler or even in modern contexts and provides a basis for further comprehension. 


Keywords


religion, society, function, totem, collectivism, conflict

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References


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