Defending the Durkheimian Tradition: Religion, Emotion and Morality, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Defending the Durkheimian Tradition

Religion, Emotion and Morality, 1st Edition

By Jonathan S. Fish


216 pages

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Hardback: 9780754641384
pub: 2005-08-28
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This book provides an exciting, accessible and wide-ranging guide to the development of classical and contemporary Durkheimian thought. Jonathan Fish offers a re-reading of the writings of Emile Durkheim and Talcott Parsons on religion. He aims to move beyond rationalistic readings which have neglected the key significance of collective human emotion in Durkheim's accounts of the link between society, religion and morality. He goes on to look at the development of these ideas in the work of Parsons and more recent Durkheimian thinkers. Making an important contribution both to studies of Durkheim and the Durkheimian tradition and to the sociology of emotion, the book is distinctive in arguing that religion is an essential backdrop for understanding emotion. In making this claim the author provides a key to re-establishing links between the sociology of religion and the wider discipline of sociology.


’This book offers an important and timely restatement of the rich potentialities of the Durkheimian tradition for contemporary sociologists and social theorists. Not only is his explication of Durkheim’s key arguments detailed and sensitive to its nuances, but Fish's account of Parsons's work makes a significant contribution to the current reassessment of this remoulding of the Durkheimian project. Fish's discussion of the resurgence of, and opposition to, Durkheimian currents in postmodern thought is also helpful and informative. This will be a very useful text for students in sociology and social theory, and should be of considerable interest to other writers in the field.’ Philip A. Mellor, University of Leeds, UK ’This ambitious book goes to the heart of contemporary neo-Durkheimianism. Encounters with Maffesoli, Mestrovic and Baudrillard enable the retrieval of an entire tradition formerly mired in rationalism and scientism. Even Talcott Parsons emerges from the rationalistic shadows. The new emotion-centred, religious sociology of Durkheim that is reclaimed here will set the tone for the next phase of Durkheim scholarship.’ Richard Kilminster, University of Leeds, UK

Table of Contents

Contents: Setting the scene; Émile Durkheim's The Elementary Forms of Religious Life; Émile Durkheim's lectures on Moral Education; Émile Durkheim's lectures on Professional Ethics and Civic Morals; Émile Durkheim's The Division of Labour in Society and The Two Laws of Penal Evolution; Talcott Parsons's The Structure of Social Action; Talcott Parsons's post-war writings on religion; Jean Baudrillard's 'implosive' critique of the Durkheimian tradition; Stjepan Meštrovic's and Michel Maffesoli's 'implosive' defence of the Durkheimian tradition; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.

About the Author

Jonathan Fish is at the School of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Leeds, UK.

About the Series

Rethinking Classical Sociology

Rethinking Classical Sociology
This series is designed to capture, reflect and promote the major changes that are occurring in the burgeoning field of classical sociology. The series publishes monographs, texts and reference volumes that critically engage with the established figures in classical sociology as well as encouraging examination of thinkers and texts from within the ever-widening canon of classical sociology. Engagement derives from theoretical and substantive advances within sociology and involves critical dialogue between contemporary and classical positions. The series reflects new interests and concerns including feminist perspectives, linguistic and cultural turns, the history of the discipline, the biographical and cultural milieux of texts, authors and interpreters, and the interfaces between the sociological imagination and other discourses including science, anthropology, history, theology and literature. The series offers fresh readings and insights that will ensure the continued relevance of the classical sociological imagination in contemporary work and maintain the highest standards of scholarship and enquiry in this developing area of research.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General