4. Conclusions

As a conclusion upon Max Weber and Emile Durkheim approaches to religion, let us quote Clifford Geertz words one more time: "(.) reli­gion tunes human actions to an envisaged cosmic order and projects im­ages of cosmic order onto the plane of human experiences" [Geertz 1973,



Geertz's words seemed as if have been taken straightly from tradi­tional (primitive, pre-industrial) communities, but it is nothing than misunderstanding. In both cases presented above: in Emile Durkheim conception of the sacred in secularized approach to religion as the very prior source of any realm of human activity that was 'embodied' in socie­ty, as well as in Max Weber interpretation of religion as a source of mean­ings and social attitudes towards life resulted in religiously oriented, ra­tional activity of individual, religion - deeply immersed in the realm of morality and social consciousness - reflects a kind of a cosmic order which is transferred into the plane of human experiences. The matter is, in what way the 'cosmic' is interpreted. Emile Durkheim's work suggests rather external approach [Ray 1999, p. 93] in which 'cosmos' is evolved from 'the social', the society itself, and parallely to the religion - is im­mersed in the social. Therefore in result, accordingly to Durkheim con­ception, we can interpret that the cosmos is social sui generis. In Emile Durkheim conception, society itself makes its own order that guarantees its integration, that is why the society becomes religious objectivity in a way that is observed through the individuals, and is again directed back towards them. Whereas Max Weber orientation presents scientific con­centration on religion in more traditional, 'concrete' and 'substantial' way - throughout Protestantism that it is seen as a configuration of spe­cific values (God's callings) displayed in its historical reality - as a con­fession that was immersed in a specific historical environment. It is also given by supernatural force - the God but it is a role of a man whose re­sponsibility is to maintain it, and also the right to use it according to his subjective purposes, changing the world at the same time.

In this light, Durkheim's and Weber's interpretations of (the role) of religion remind scientific paths leading into two different directions: top-down and bottom-up. Emile Durkheim conception seems to reflect the top-down pattern in which religion is given to the individual as a mecha­nism, an idea that guarantees him coherence with community, harmony, brings 'cosmos', and paradoxically - release him to the freedom. At the same time, the role of the individual is rather limited: he is expected to understand the order and implement its rules to everyday life. Weber's conception presents it in opposition - the role of religion in society can be described by the bottom-up path. In this vision, religion is a set of symbols and demands related to a man; it is also given him (from the God - an ex­ternal force) but his role in the process is much more active than in Durk-heim's view. Religion, in result - let us repeat it - according to Weber, is not the mechanism that confirms sacred cosmos (Durkheim's approach) but reflects in front of the human kind a broad plane for rational thinking and what is more, for wide range modification.

In this light, both, Durkheim's and Weber's approaches to reli­gion - as a collective or individual manifestation of values - deeply dif­fer, but seem to mirror Geertz's conception of religion as a cultural pat­tern that finally buckles their ideas and allows to think of their visions as of complemented and continual conceptions.

The cultural concept of religion is defined by Clifford Geertz as: "(.) denot[ation] of a historically transmitted pattern of meaning em­bodied in symbols, a system of inherited conceptions expressed in sym­bolic forms by means of which men communicate, perpetuate, and devel­op their knowledge about and attitudes toward life" [Geertz 1973, p. 91]. Novelty and usefulness of Geertz's idea is that he develops his conception explaining that religion 'consists' of cultural patterns that emerge from it as - called by Clifford Geertz - 'models'. According to him, "(.) cultural patterns are "models", that they are sets of symbols whose relations to one another "model" relations among entities, processes or what-have-you in physical, organic, social, or psychological systems by "paralleling", "imitating", or "simulating" them". And then Clifford Geertz explains it in his next words that - in the context of Durkheim's and Weber's thoughts - seem to be essential: "The term "model" has, however, two senses - an "of" sense and a "for" sense - and though these are but two aspects of the same basis concept (.)" [Geertz 1973, p. 93]. Indeed, Durkheim's scientific approach to the religion as the main source and prior realm of any social activity suggests interpreting it as 'a model of' - gaining an ideal (integrated, collaborated) societal rules emerged in the solidarity phenomenon. Whereas Weber's ethic of Protestantism -confession (religion) - that also imposes on a men a set of duties (God's calling) can be interpreted differently - as 'a model for' social change. Those two approaches of two greatest masters of sociology Emile Durk-heim and Max Weber, although remarkably differ, seem meet and com­plete each other as two aspects (models) of Clifford Geertz's vision: "(...) cultural patterns have an intrinsic double aspect: they give meaning, that is, objective conceptual form, so social and psychological reality both by shaping themselves to it [what can suggests rather Durkheim's concep­tion] and by shaping it to themselves [that might relate to Weber's vi­sion]" [Geertz 1973, p. 93].

The response to the title's question of the paper, weather Durk-heim's or Weber's approaches to religion in society is rather collective or individual process, seems that both of them include those two aspects of the social in their visions. The difference matters in the proportion of it in each project. Both of them - Emile Durkheim and Max Weber create their goals in stable and coherent relation between the individual and community, in which the religion plays crucial role, although propose di-versed paths to reach it.

Apart from those analytical, hypothetically posed presumptions, let me finish the paper with long, but exceedingly accurate S. Seidman's quotation summarizing Emile Durkheim and Max Weber works:

"Their grand narratives of human history invariably began and ended in the West; scripted men as the primary actors; wrapped them­selves in the mythic aura of science, marked out good and bad, evil and redemption, without ever owning their stories as moral tales. Today, we can appreciate that their faith in science, reason, individualism, progress, and the West were entangled in the making of modern (.), but also in producing powerful moral and political visions filled with social hope for better world" [Seidman 1989, p. 88-89].


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2. Durkheim, E. 1990. Elementarne formy zycia religijnego. System totemiczny Aus-tralii. (Tarkowska E., Trans.). Warszawa: WN PWN.

3. Durkheim, E. 1999. O podziale pracy spolecznej. (Tarkowska E., Trans.). Warsza-

wa: WN PWN.

4. Fabis, P. 2008. Emile Durkheim jako teoretyk kultury, Poznan: Wydawnictwo Poznanskie.

5. Foucault, M. 1975. Discipline and Punish: the Birth of the Prison, New York: Ran­dom House.

6. Geertz, C. 1973. The Interpretations of Cultures, New York: Basic Books.

7. Geertz, C. 2000. Dzielo i zycie. Antropolog jako autor. (Works and Lives 1988). Warszawa: Wydawnictwo KR.

8. Geertz, C. 2003. Zastane swiatlo. Antropologiczne refleksje na tematy filozoficzne. (Available Light 2000). Krakow: Wyd. Universitas.

9. Geertz, C. 2005. Wiedza lokalna. Dalsze eseje z zakresu antropologii inter-pretatywnej. (Local Knowledge 1983). Krakow: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Jagiellonskiego.

10. Geertz, C. 2010. Po fakcie. Dwa kraje, cztery dekady, jeden antropolog, Krakow: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Jagiellonskiego, (After the Fact: Two Countries, Four Decades, One Anthropologist 1995).

11. Krasnodebski, Z. 1999. Max Weber. Warszawa: Wiedza Powszechna.

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13. Ray, L. J. 1999. Theorizing Classical Sociology. Buckingham-Philadelphia: Open University Press.

14. Seidman, S. 1989. Contested Knowledge. Social Theory in the Postmodern Era. 2nd edition, Malader, Massachusetts and Oxford. UK: Blackwell.

15. Szacki, J. 1964. Durkheim. Warszawa: Wiedza Powszechna.

16. Szacki, J. 2008, Historia mysli socjologicznej. Warszawa: Panstwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe.

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18. Weber, M. 1989. Polityka jako zawod i powolanie, Egel P., Wander M., Trans.), Warszawa: Niezalezna Oficyna Wydawnicza.

19. Weber, M. 1992. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (Parsons T., Trans.). London and New York: Routledge (original work was published in 1930).

20.Weber, M. 2000. Socjologia religii. Dziela zebrane. Etyka gospodarcza religii swia-towych. Krakow: Nomos.

21. Weber, M. 2002. Gospodarka i spoleczenstwo. Zarys socjologii rozumiej^cej. War-szawa: Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN.

22. Weber, M. 2002. Gospodarka i spoleczenstwo. Zarys socjologii rozumiej^cej, (Dorota Lachowska D. Trans.), Warszawa: PWN.

23. Weber, M. 2004. Racjonalnosc, wladza, odczarowanie, Poznan: Wydawnictwo Poznanskie.

<< | >>
Источник: Девятых Сергей Юрьевич. Общество, культура, личность. Актуальные проблемы со­циально-гуманитарного знания. 2012

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