Durkheim Essay Questions

Durkheim Essay Questions-54
A social form is one in which religion is deeply embedded in the entire social structure so that it is not a differentiated sphere, or only very partially one.In this sense most pre-modern religions would be paleo-Durkheimian, and for Taylor’s purposes medieval Europe would be an example of this form.In speaking of God as the predominant idea that first organized our culture Delbanco is thinking primarily of the New England Puritans of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

A social form is one in which religion is deeply embedded in the entire social structure so that it is not a differentiated sphere, or only very partially one.In this sense most pre-modern religions would be paleo-Durkheimian, and for Taylor’s purposes medieval Europe would be an example of this form.In speaking of God as the predominant idea that first organized our culture Delbanco is thinking primarily of the New England Puritans of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Of course, Taylor argues that post-Durkheimian forms never wholly replace earlier ones, which continue to exist, sometimes with significant influence, as is the case of neo-Durkheimianism in the United States, though most of Europe is post-Durkheimian.

I would like to compare Taylor’s typology to one of Andrew Delbanco’s that I commented on in the Epilogue to my Festschrift in 2002.

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I would like to raise two questions about whether Taylor’s post-Durkheimian social form is theoretically really post-Durkheimian. There is no political reason which can excuse an attack on the individual when the rights of the individual are placed above those of the state.” At the same time Durkheim wants to distinguish between individualism and egoism: “After all, individualism is the glorification not of the self but of the individual in general.

The first is whether Durkheim himself was not a major prophet of post-Durkheimianism insofar as he preached the religion, indeed the worship, of the individual. Nowhere are the rights of the individual affirmed with greater energy, since the individual is placed in the ranks of sacrosanct objects. It springs not from egoism but from sympathy for all that is human, a broader pity for all sufferings, for all human miseries, a more ardent need to combat them and mitigate them, a greater thirst for justice. So it was with some surprise that I found there was a point where, if I didn’t entirely differ from Taylor, I had at least some serious questions to raise.There are several important and interesting typologies in .Delbanco organizes his small book, , into three chapters entitled God, Nation, and Self.These he sees, using Emersonian terminology, as “predominant ideas” which have successively organized our culture and our society, providing a context of meaning which can bring hope and stave off melancholy.And it is this regime that is closely related to the rise of modern nationalism, which may or may not shed its religious guise, but to which the churches in many ways remain oriented.Taylor sees Durkheim, not incorrectly, as involved in a battle between surviving remnants of paleo-Durkheimianism, represented by the Catholic-royalist right wing in turn of the twentieth century France and expressed in the effort to prosecute Dreyfus, and oppose a neo-Durkheimian republicanism.That is to say that Durkheim’s form of what Taylor calls neo-Durkheimianism, that is a fusion of faith and nation, is almost devoid of any particularism.Now the French are notoriously famous for thinking that their form of universalism is universalism itself and Durkheim himself engaged to some degree in French chauvinism when he wrote an anti-German pamphlet during World War I in which he compared the universal ideals of France, which stood for civilization itself, with the narrow particularism of German nationalism, elevating the German nation above all others.And indeed Durkheim’s thought is particularly resonant with tendencies abroad in the world today.He tempers his strong emphasis on human rights with a deep concern for human sympathy and human communion.

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