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Geertz

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When beginning to look at religions and cultures and their intertwining effect on each other, you can see that a religion shapes society, and equally society shapes religion. When comparing the theories of two popular anthropologists, Durkheim and Geertz, I believe that Geertz’s theory is more realistic and reliable than Durkheim’s theory. Durkheim’s theory says that religion is a joined community effort that brings people together like a social glue, and uses the definitions of the sacred and profane to distinguish what makes things religious. On the other side, Geertz’s theory holds that religion is a cultural organization, and showed that religion and society can have an impact on each other, and religion is a set symbols of that promote an emotional response, ultimate meaning, ordering of the world, and marks a special status in one’s life. When examining both theories I saw that Geertz’s theory challenges Durkheim’s theory in the definitions of the sacred and profane, Durkheim’s view of religion as a social glue of society, and Durkheim’s neglection of the individual’s use of religion impacting society.
Before discussing the reasons why Geertz’s theory challenges Durkheim’s theory, I think is important to point out the limitations of Geertz’s theory. The first shortcoming I noticed is Geertz view on using one study as a test case for another will offer suspicious results. This is true to a certain extent, but potentially you could draw small conclusions that can be related to other cultures as well even if all the parameters do not fit.
When delving deeper into Durkheim’s theory I think it is important to critique Durkheim’s view on the sacred and the profane. The sacred represents objects or practices set apart from eve...

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Pals, Daniel L. "Religion as Cultural System: Clifford Geertz." In Eight Theories of Religion. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.

Pals, Daniel L. "Religion as Cultural System: Clifford Geertz." In Eight Theories of Religion. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. 269-273

Durkheim, Émile. The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life. New York: Free Press, 19651915. 35

Pals, Daniel L. "Religion as Cultural System: Clifford Geertz." In Eight Theories of Religion. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. 267-277

Pals, Daniel L. "Religion as Cultural System: Clifford Geertz." In Eight Theories of Religion. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. 275-276

Pals, Daniel L. "Religion as Cultural System: Clifford Geertz." In Eight Theories of Religion. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. 277-278
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