Segments in this Video

Holy Trinity of Sociology (04:19)


Max Weber looked at how changes in theological doctrine affected economic change. Marx questioned why humanity invented a God and what religion is. Emile Durkheim notes that religion is the source of subsequent moral, philosophical, scientific, and juridical idea.

Durkheim on Religion (03:50)

Conscience collective includes shared consciousness, morality, and consciousness whereas organic solidarity functions through socially shared individualism. The distinctive characteristic of religion is the presuppose classification of all things into two classes: the sacred and the profane. Profanity violates sacredness.

Religious Traditions and Institutions (01:41)

Religions have two types of prescribed ritual practices and beliefs. The negative serve to maintain the separation of the sacred and profane through prohibition while the positive reaffirm commitment to religious ideas through actions. Religions always possess religious institutions in some form.

Defining Religion (02:00)

Durkheim defined religion as a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things which unite into a single moral community called a church, all those that adhere to them. He defined a church as a regularized ceremonial organization pertaining to a definite group of worshipers. To understand the fundamental aspects of religion, Durkheim examined the totemism of the Australian aborigine.

Totemism (03:52)

Durkheim's examination of totemism was an ethnocentric error. There are three sacred objects in totemism—the totem itself, which is a symbolic projection of the identity of the tribe, the representation of the totem, and clan member themselves. There is a genealogical connection between the individual and their totem.

Nature and Totemism (02:11)

Nature and all of its elements are part of the social world- they are a part of society as human beings. The three sacred objects of totemism are all independently sacred. Durkheim argues that there is a universal magical force that generates the sacred totems, representation of it, and the clan members.

Collective Effervescence (05:42)

Without individuals to actualize social factors there can be no social forces. Explore the concept of collective effervescence through the lens of an electronic music festival and political rallies. In totemism, however, energy is focused on the totem as it represents sacred energy and the tribe.

God Is Society (01:38)

Religious believers assert that there has to be something more than just ourselves that gives meaning to life. Durkheim believes there is something bigger than ourselves; it is society.

Credits: Durkheim's The Elementary Forms of Religious Life (00:23)

Credits: Durkheim's The Elementary Forms of Religious Life

For additional digital leasing and purchase options contact a media consultant at 800-257-5126
(press option 3) or

Durkheim's The Elementary Forms of Religious Life

Part of the Series : Durkheim's The Elementary Forms of Religious Life
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $139.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $209.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $139.95



Emile Durkheim sought to understand the fundamental basis of all religions by an analysis of its simplest form. This program examines Durkheim's arguments on religion and shows how he arrived at the conclusion that society itself is being worshipped.

Length: 26 minutes

Item#: BVL145540

ISBN: 978-1-64198-847-6

Copyright date: ©2014

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video and Publisher customers.