Synopses & Reviews
Classical Durkheimian Studies of Myth and the Sacred presents English translations of several important essays, some never before translated, by members of the famous Annee sociologique group around Emile Durkheim. These works by Marcel Mauss, Henri Hubert, and Robert Hertz are key contributions to today's growing interest in and reinterpretation of Durkheimian thought on culture, religion, and symbolism. The central thrust in this new interpretive effort uses the Durkheimian theory of the sacred to understand the symbolism and meanings of cultural structures and narratives more generally. This book is vital to any contemporary collection emphasizing social theory.Durkheim indicated in The Elementary Forms that the sacred would certainly transform itself in modernity, although he limited his conjecture as to precisely how it would do so to some brief remarks on popular political manifestations of collective effervescence and sacred symbolic production. Much contemporary work in cultural sociology has made use of this observation by Durkheim to postulate new manifestations of the sacred in secular cultural forms. The texts translated here show how thoroughly such efforts can be rooted in the work emerging in the original Durkheimian school during its heyday in the first two decades of the 20th century.