Emile Durkheim (Transl. by: Valeryia Zemskova 1 ; Translation ed. by: Dmitry Kurakin 2, 3)
  • 1 Independent Researcher, 13-ya Parkovaya str., 14-12, Moscow, Russian Federation 105077
  • 2 National Research University Higher School of Economics, 20 Myasnitskaya Str., Moscow, 101000, Russian Federation
  • 3 Yale University, 204 Prospect St., room 2004, New Haven, CT, USA, 06511

Elementary Forms of Religious Life: Conclusion

2018, vol. 17, No. 2, pp. 122–154 [issue contents]
In 2018, Elementary Forms Press will be releasing the Russian translation of Emile Durkheim’s seminal oeuvre Elementary Forms of Religious Life (originally published in 1912). In his Conclusion, Durkheim revisits the key epistemological questions raised at the beginning of the book. He summarizes his findings obtained as a result of the analysis of ethnographical descriptions of the religious beliefs of Australian tribes. He proves that his approach to the study of totemism is also relevant for more complex societies. According to his analysis, religious life is the expression of the collective life as such, and is manifested via collective actions. He explains the origins of the individual cult and the universal nature of religion, the two phenomena that at first glance seem to contradict his main argument about the social nature of religion. Durkheim then approaches modern life and demonstrates the historical nature of religious life, i.e., the fact that there will always be a need for a way to express the collective feelings and representations of any society. Finally, Durkheim discusses the relationship between science and religion, and studies the social origins of the categories of thought. In considering these issues, Durkheim goes beyond the framework of sociological theory of religion, and reaffirms the fundamental character of his research once again. The Conclusion is supplemented with introductory remarks by Dmitry Kurakin, who provides the social-theoretical keys for understanding the contemporary relevance of Durkheim’s work, and gives an overview of the main terminological dilemmas during the translation process.
Citation: Durkheim E. (2018) Elementarnye formy religioznoy zhizni (Zaklyuchenie) [Elementary Forms of Religious Life: Conclusion]. The Russian Sociological Review, vol. 17, no 2, pp. 122-154 (in Russian)
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