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Recent Sociological Studies

The Outlook (New York, 2 août 1916)

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Source primaire :
Anon., « Recent Sociological Studies », The Outlook, published Weekly with illustrations (New York), 113, August 2, 1916, p. 808-809

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Texte intégral

  • 1 Introduction to the Study of Sociology. By Edward Cary Hayes, Ph.D., Professor in the University of (...)

1[…808]1 Professor Durkheim, of the University of Paris, has made a noteworthy contribution to the science of religion in “The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life.” His finding in the lowest form of religion some elemental ideas of Christianity is news to most [809] of us, but is accords with the principle that the rudiments of fully developed life exist in life undeveloped.

2The elementary form of religion best known to Americans, is the totemism of the Alaskan tribes, whose tall, fantastic symbols stand in some of our parks. Totem, an indigenous American word, denotes some natural object whose name is taken by the clan. A pale reflection of it survives in such national emblems as the American eagle, the British lion, the French lilies, the Russian bear. The totem is the flag of the clan, a symbol of religious loyalty to the community, whose collective strength animates each clansman to an intenser life. In this primitive idea of a reality greater than mere man Professor Durkheim sees the gray dawn of religious feeling toward what is sacred an divine.

  • 2 [« Origins of these [Totemic] Beliefs. The Notion of the Totemic Principle, or Mana, and the Idea o (...)

3The fundamental idea of totemism is that of a force, mana, resident in all living things, pre-eminently in the society of the clan, and symbolized by its totem. Here, though in an impersonal form, we see foreshadowed the Christian doctrine of the immanence of God in nature and in man, ever working out his eternal will. Modern science also in its doctrine of the infinite and eternal energy whence all things proceed accords with the totemic principle. “The idea of force,” says Professor Durkheim, “is of religious origin. It is from religion that it has been borrowed, first by philosophy, then by the sciences.[2] In the highest form of religion, as in the lowest, man still finds the wellspring of aspiration and endeavor toward the heights of idealistic hope.

4A more primitive form of totemism than the Alaskan exists in Australia together with the most primitive social organization now known. This is Professor Durkheim's chosen field. His exhaustive sociological study of its beliefs and rites convinces him that even the crudest religions call spiritual powers into play, and that their principal object is to act upon the moral life. No religion, however barbarous, is wholly false. It is no discredit to the highest type if some germ of it is found in the lowest.

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1 Introduction to the Study of Sociology. By Edward Cary Hayes, Ph.D., Professor in the University of Illinois. D. Appleton &Co., New York. $2.50; The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life: A study in Religious Sociology. By Émile Durkheim. Translated from the French by Joseph Ward Swain, M.A. The Macmillan Company, New York. $4.; Practicable Socialism. By Canon S.A. Barnett (the Late) and Mrs. S. A. Barett. Longmans, Green & Co., New York. $1.75; Christianity and Politics. By William Cunningham, D.D., F.B.A. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. $1.50; Views on Some Social Subjects. By Sir Dyce Dunckworth, Bt., M.D., LL.D. The Macmillan Compagny, New York. $2.

2 [« Origins of these [Totemic] Beliefs. The Notion of the Totemic Principle, or Mana, and the Idea of Force », Durkheim 1915, Book 2, chap. 6, p. 204]

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Référence papier

Anon., « Recent Sociological Studies », The Outlook (New York), 113, August 2, 1916, p. 808-809.

Référence électronique

Anon., « Recent Sociological Studies  », Archives de sciences sociales des religions [En ligne], La première réception des Formes (1912-1917) (S. Baciocchi, F. Théron, eds.), II, mis en ligne le 27 février 2013, consulté le 14 octobre 2019. URL :

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