Durkheim on Religion: A Selection of Readings with Bibliographies and Introductory Remarks

By Emile Durkheim and W.S.F. Pickering (editor)

A comprehensive selection of readings from Durkheim’s writings on religion, providing a summary of his work and overview of the development of his thinking.

ISBN: 9780227173459


The famous French sociologist Émile Durkheim is universally recognised as one of the founding fathers of sociology as an academic discipline. He wrote on the division of labour, methodology, suicide and education, but his most prolific and influential works were his writings on religion, which culminated in his controversial book The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life. Although his influence continued long after his death in 1917, this is the first book to provide a detailed look at the whole of his work in the field of religion.

Durkheim on Religion is a selection of readings from Durkheim’s writings on religion, presented in order of original publication, ranging from early reviews to articles and extracts from his books. Also included are detailed bibliographies and abstracts together with contributions by such writers as Van Gennep, Goldenweiser and Stanner.

This book will be invaluable to those studying sociology and anthropology, but will also be of interest to those studying the history or philosophy of religion, as well as to anyone with an interest in Durkheim.

Additional information

Dimensions 216 × 140 mm
Pages 390

Trade Information JPOD

About the Author

The Revd Dr William S.F. Pickering has been an Anglican priest since 1950, and for twenty years was a lecturer in Sociology at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. He was the General Secretary of the British Centre for Durkheimian Studies, which he helped to found in 1991. It is based in the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Oxford University.

He has written and edited a number of books on Durkheim and his followers, as well as many articles. Among his other publications are Sociology and Theology: Alliance and Conflict (Harvester Press, 1980), A Social History of the Diocese of Newcastle 1882-1982 (Oriel Press, 1981), The Hutterites (Ward Lock Educational, 1982) and Anglo-Catholicism: A Study in Religious Ambiguity, which has also been reprinted by James Clarke and Co Ltd.


The translations

1. Review. ‘Herbert Spencer – Ecclesiatical Institutions
2. Review. ‘Guyau – L’Irréligion de l’avenir
3. Suicide. Book II, chapter 2
4. ‘Individualism and the intellectuals’
5. ‘Concerning the definition of religious phenomena’
6. Note. ‘Religious systems of primitive societies’ (I)
7. The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life: the Totemic System in Australia
     Introduction; Book I, chapter I, sections III and IV; Book II, chapter VII,
     sections I, II, IV and VI; Conclusion, sections I and II
8. Note. ‘Religious systems of primitive societies’ (II)
9. Review. ‘Lévy-Bruhl – Les Fonctions mentales dans les sociétés inférieures
     and ‘Durkheim – Les Formes élémentaires de la vie religieuse
10. Review with M. Mauss. ‘Frazer – Totemism and Exogamy
     and ‘Durkheim – Les Formes élémentaires de la vie religieuse
11. Contribution to discussion. ‘Religious sentiment at the present time’
12. Moral Education. Introduction

Other authors
13. A. van Gennep
     Review. ‘Les Formes élémentaires de la vie religieuse
14. A.A. Goldenweiser
     Review. ‘Les Formes élémentaires de la vie religieuse
15. G. Richard
     ‘Dogmatic atheism in the sociology of religion’
16. W.E.H. Stanner
     ‘Reflections on Durkheim and aboriginal religion’

1. Durkheim and religion
2. Durkheim on totemism
3. On Durkheim and religion

Abstracts. Durkheim and Religion

A note on the life of Gaston Richard and certain aspects of his work
Name index
Subject index