It is regarded as his best and most mature work. Durkheim’s thesis on suicide suicide focused on a large amount of statistics from varying sources, the elementary forms of Religious life used one case study in depth, the Australian aborigines.
Durkheim choose this group because he felt they represented the most basic, elementary forms of religion within a culture. Durkheim set out to do two things, established the fact that religion was not divinely or super naturally inspired and was in fact a product of society. Durkheim also sought to identify the common things that religion placed an emphasis upon, as well as what effects those religious beliefs had on the lives of all within a society. According to Durkheim, religion is something eminently social. Religious representations are collective representations which express collective reality.
Recognizing the social origin of religion, Durkheim argued that religion acted as a source of solidarity. Religion provides a meaning for life. Durkheim saw it as a critical part of the social system. Durkheim’s concern about religion lay in the fact that it was one of the main agencies of solidarity and morality in society and was therefore parts of the central problem of social solidarity which he wished to explore. Emile Durkheim has many purposes for studying elementary forms of Religion.
Durkheim wanted to clear all its obsession by writing a book on religion before his death. His duty was to know the problem of the society. Durkheim was influenced by two scholars. In fact his ideas later contributed to the formation of sociological theory of religion. They have not talked about the origin of religion and not suggested to how modern religion functions in the society.
Durkheim developed the idea that study of religion in its most complex form can be understood, accomplished only when religion is studied in its most primitive and elementary forms. The confusion of the relationship between religion and science. According to Durkheim, Science itself reveals that religion is merely the transfiguration of society. Emile Durkheim has studied the Arunta tribes of Australian aborigines. To define religion, he says, we must first free the mind of all preconceived ideas of religion. He discards the notion that religion is concerned with the mysterious or supernatural phenomena, with gods, spirits and ghosts.
A unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things that is to say, things set apart and forbidden—beliefs and practices which unite in one simple moral community called church, all those who adhere to it. Religion is an interdependent system of beliefs and practices regarding things which are sacred, that is to say, apart forbidden, beliefs and practices which unite all those who follow them in a single moral community called a church. The concept of church is added to the concept of the sacred and to the system of beliefs in order to differentiate religion from magic, which does not necessarily involve the consensus of the faithful in one church. There were two interpretations contrary to Durkheim regarding religion. These two interpretations which he seeks to refute in the first part of the Book. In animism religious beliefs are held to be beliefs in spirits, these spirits being the transfiguration of the experience of men have of their two fold nature of body and soul.
As for naturism it amounts to stating that men worship transfigured natural forces. The theory of animism is the work of E. According to Tylor, animism is essentially a belief in the spirit of the dead. Tylor argued that early men had a need to explain dreams, shadows, hallucinations, sleep and death.