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date: 07 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article analyzes three key stages in the development of the sociology of the sacred: the Durkheim school, the Collège de Sociologie, and the work of Hans Joas. First, it shows that the Collège de Sociologie was deeply influenced by the Durkheimians’ studies on religion and the gift but interpreted them in a very specific way. Whereas the Collège and the Durkheim school agree on the importance of the sacred for social cohesion, they disagree on other important theoretical, methodological, and political issues. Second, it compares Hans Joas’s studies on sacralization processes to the Durkheimian sociology of religion and the sacred sociology of the Collège. It argues that Joas’s analyses, even though they are inspired by Durkheim, in particular go beyond the Durkheim school and the Collège in three respects: (a) they provide an account of the articulation of the experience of the sacred; (b) they ground sacralization processes in a theory of action; and (c) they contextualize sacralization processes in terms of a sociology of institutions and power.

Keywords: sacralization, religion, Durkheim school, Emile Durkheim, Marcel Mauss, Robert Hertz, Georges Bataille, Roger Caillois, Collège de Sociologie, Hans Joas

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