By N. J. Allen (Ed.), W. S. F. Pickering (Ed.), W. Watts Miller (Ed.)

This is often the 1st selection of essays to be released on Durkheim's masterpiece The user-friendly sorts of non secular existence and contains paintings by means of an important overseas Durkheim students.

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The clan itself, as a real constituent of society, could 26 S P E NC E R AN D G I LLE N I N D U RK H E I M enforce adherence to the ideological rationalizations of praxis and cause people to congregate together on a regular basis, thus generating effervescence and demarcating the sacred from the profane. ‘Since religious force is nothing other than the collective and anonymous force of the clan, and since this can be represented in the mind only in the form of the totem, the totemic emblem is like the visible body of the god’ (316/221).

All of the elements of Aboriginal religion that were central to Spencer and Gillen’s descriptive ethnography, except the excitement generated in collective rituals, became secondary phenomena. What Durkheim refers to as the ‘totemic principle’ has the role of a universal interpretant which of necessity gives a determined position to all other phenomena of Aboriginal religion. Yet the totemic principle is not abstracted from Aranda exegesis but is an a priori creation arising from Durkheim’s theoretical thinking.

Not all of Spencer and Gillen’s interpretative data is taken up by Durkheim. They provide quite a detailed account of the social organization of the ritual and its avowed purpose. The ceremony enacts the relationship between the two moieties and provides the context for dispute settlement through public displays of aggression (see Peterson 1970). The man charging with the fiery bayonet engages with a man with whom he had had a serious quarrel the year before. Durkheim does not refer to these interpretations but instead focuses on the experiential dimension of the ritual: Feeling himself dominated and carried away by some sort of external power which makes him think and act differently from normal times …all his companions feel themselves transformed in the same way…everything is just as though he were really transported into a special world, entirely different from the one in which he ordinarily lives, and into an environment filled with exceptionally intense forces that invade him and metamorphose him.

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