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date: 31 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Ever since Durkheim, the question of the sociality of mind has remained both contentious and fruitful. This article discusses the Durkheimian contribution to the sociology of knowledge in three steps. First, by drawing on Durkheim and Mauss’s “Primitive Classification” (1903) and on Durkheim’s The Elementary Forms of Religious Life (1912), two key arguments of the Durkheimian sociology of knowledge will be distinguished. Second, it is argued that the differences between these two key contributions reverberate through the reception of Durkheim’s sociology of knowledge, resulting in two quite different lines of reception: one that focuses on classificatory homologies (Lévi-Strauss, Bourdieu, Boltanski) and one that focuses on ritual, the sacred, and the emergence of nonordinary realities (Bellah, Joas). Finally, the continuing provocative force of Durkheim’s sociology of knowledge is explained by systematizing the various tensions within Durkheim’s arguments as well as within and between its appropriations.

Keywords: Durkheim, knowledge, classification, religion, ritual, structuralism, Bellah, Bourdieu, Joas, Lévi-Strauss

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