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SOCIOLOGY AND PSYCHOLOGY


THE CONCEPTION OF RELIGION AND MAGIC AND THE PLACE OF
PSYCHOLOGY IN SOCIOLOGICAL STUDIES:
A DISCUSSION
OF THE VIEWS OF DURKHEIM AND OF HUBERT AND
MAUSS
JAMES H. LEUBA
BrynMawrCollege

There was a time when only philosophersand theologians


attemptedto defineand explain religion. Today ethnologists,
are takinga veryactivepartin this
and psychologists
sociologists,
work. A mostremarkable
recentessay dealingwiththe conceptionofreligion
is thatofEmileDurkheim,'thedistinguished
editor
of theAnneesociologique.Religionis presentedin thisessayas a
social phenomenonfundamentally
independentof the beliefin
godsand so closelyalliedto magicthatno adequatemeansis providedfordifferentiating
them. Thereis muchto admirein this
incontestably
originaland valuable paper. Yet I am forcedto
dissentfromit on severalpointsof considerable
significance.
In the firstpart of the presentpaper I shall set forth,as far
as possiblein hisownwords,Durkheim'sconception
ofreligion. I
whichwilllead me to take
shall thenoffersomecriticalremarks,
ofmagicdevelopedby Hubertand Mauss,a conup theconception
ceptionwithwhichDurkheimappearsin agreement.A fewfinal
of the shareof psycholpageswillbe devotedto theconsideration
ofreligion.
ogyin thestudyoftheoriginand ofthefunction
I.

SACREDNESSAS THE FUNDAMENTALCHARACTERISTICOF RELIGION

Cult,writesour author,mightbe definedin a generalway as


the totalityof thepracticesdealingwithsacredthings.,But this
of
affirmation
can have meaningonlyin so faras the significance
1EmileDurkheim,
De la difinition
des phgnomenes
religieux,
Anniesociologique,
II (I897-98), I-28; see also, Emile Durkheim,"Examen critiquedes syst6mes
classiquessurla pens6ereligieuse,
Rev.Philos.,XLVII (I909), I-28, I42-I62.
The mostimportant
workfollowing
in the lead of Durkheim,
publishedin the
UnitedStates,is IrvingKing,TheDevelopment
ofReligion.Macmillan,
igIo.
323

324

THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY

the word "sacred" is known. A conceptionof the originand


natureofthesacredis thusat thecenterofthetheoryofDurkheim.
Whatsensemustbe attachedto thatterm? Ourauthorobserves
in sacredand profaneis veryoftenindefirstthatthe distinction
pendentof the idea of God. Thereare religionsfromwhichthe
idea of God is absent (Buddhism,Jainism),and thereare sacred
objectswhichare not gods. "In a clan whosetotemis thewolf,
everywolfis equallyvenerated,thoseof todayas wellas thoseof
yesterdayand thoseto be borntomorrow.The same honorsare
givento all of themindiscriminately.
We have here,therefore,
neithera godnormanygods,but a largecategoryofsacredthings.
In orderthatone may apply the termgod,it wouldbe necessary
for the principlecommonto all these particularbeings to be
undersomedefinite
separatedand hypostatized
form;it couldthen
becomethecenterofa cult." Certainimpersonal
objects,suchas
theflag,or thenation,also assumethecharacterofsacredness. A
god is simply"a powerto producecertaineffects,
moreor less
to a particularand definite
definite,but always referred
being.
When this power,instead of beingincarnatedin an individual
numberof things,we
being,remainsdiffusein an indeterminate
have simplysacred,in oppositionto profaneobjects,but no god."
It appears thus,accordingto our author,"that the notionof
in religiouslife,is in reality
divinity,farfrombeingfundamental
merelya secondaryepisode. It is theproductofa specialprocess
are conby virtueofwhichone or severalreligiouscharacteristics
centratedand becomeconcretein a moreor less individualform."
The idea ofdivinitycouldnot,therefore,
have been theone which
servedoriginallyin the makingof a distinctionbetweenthings
profaneand sacred.
In religion,
then,thenotionofthesacredand notthatofdivinity
one. But whence
is, accordingto Durkheim,the fundamental
thisidea of thesacred? The sacredis a specificqualitybelonging
to the traditional,to that which the individualfindsalready
made,to myths,to dogmas,transmitted
by society. The sacred
and the profaneare respectively
withthe social and
synonymous
the individual. Sacred objects separate themselvesfrom the
othersby the special mannerin whichwe come to know them.

SOCIOLOGYAND PSYCHOLOGY

325

Theyarenotourownwork; theyaregivento us by thecommunity


to whichwe belong. "Thingswhichreachourmindsby routeso
different
cannot appear to us under the same aspects." The
itselffromtheprofane,not by a difference
sacreddifferentiates
of
This
of
the
from
but
of
derivation
sacred
kind.
the
tradidegree
to the individual,we findagain and
tional,in contradistinction
substantially
unchangedin thearticlepublishedtenyearslaterin
theRevuephilosophique.
From this social-traditional
in
originof the sacred (therefore,
Durkheim'sopinion,of religionalso) proceedsthisotheressential
of the religiousorder
trait: the beliefsor "the representations
standopposedto theothersin thesamewayas obligatory
opinions
standopposedto freeopinions"; religiousbeliefsare imperative,
themoretheyare obligatory." But
"the moretheyare religious,
worksare not less essentialthan faith;one cannotseparatecult
frombelief; theyare merely"two different
aspectsof the same
reality."
"The phenomenacalled
definition:
Thuswe reachthefollowing
beliefsconnectedwithdefinite
religiousconsistin obligatory
practices,whichreferto objectsgivenin thesebeliefs." Religion"is
a moreorlesswell-organized
and systematized
groupofphenomena
of thatorder."'
of themainelementsof
Turningnow to a criticalexamination
ofreligion,
letus beginwiththenotionofthesacred,
thisconception
and the originassignedto it by Durkheim. An analysisof the
qualitiesenteringinto the compositionof the experiencecalled
underwhatconditionit may
willhelpus to understand
sacredness
arise. We shallsee that,farfrombeingtheonlysourceof sacredcannoteven be considered,
in any truesense,
ness,the traditional
one ofits sources.
Respectand venerationbear somerelationto sacredness,but
no emotionis so closeto it as awe. Thereis alwaysan elementof
awe in the experienceof the sacred,and awe involvesfearheld
in checkby admiration.But, althoughfearis a necessaryingredientof sacredness,it is not necessarilya prominent
one. It is
are frompp.
I The above quotations
religieux.

I3-23

of De la ddgfinition
des phinomines

326

THE AMERICAN JOURNALOF SOCIOLOGY

of the sacred
neutralizedby curiositywhichthe mysteriousness
object arouses,and by knowledgeof ways and meansby which
to enterintorelationwiththesacredpower. The essentialdifferencebetweenthemerelyawfuland thesacredconsistsin theexistbetweenus and the sacred. It
ence of unavoidableconnections
as
with
a
merelyawfulobject,to turnaway from
is not sufficient,
the sacredin orderto be done withit. The sacredobjecthas a
holdupon us, we standin dynamicrelationwithit, and thisrelationis not one of equal to equal, but of superiorto inferior;i.e.,
we feel dependentupon it. Awfulness(a complexof fearand
admiration)and the beliefthat the greatand portentouspower
actionscontrol
reachesdownto us and thatwe mayby appropriate
of
it withincertainlimitsseemto me the essentialcharacteristics
sacredobjects.
thetenderfeeling,
forit seemsthatsacred
I havenotmentioned
awakenthetenderfeeling. I shalleven
objectsdo notnecessarily
thatthepresencein an objectofqualities
venturetheaffirmation
of
the
tender
emotionis antagonisticto sacrednessgenerative
a sacredobject.
an object of love cannotbe at thesame moment
Wheneverthe ChristianGod is thoughtof as love, he cannot
althoughhe remainsan object
awakenthe emotionof sacredness,
of veneration. The God of the Christianarousesthe emotionof
sacrednessonlywhen,his love forman not beingpresentto conhis surpassing
holiness,and his lordshipover
greatness,
sciousness,
withthepossibility
ofentering
intoacceptus are realizedtogether
able relationswithhim.
If,at times,so-calledsacredobjectsare treatedin waysshowing
that they do not possess one or the otherof these component
away,
qualities;if,forinstance,thefetishis abused,beaten,thrown
I answerthat at thatmomenthe has ceased to be sacredto the
one who misuseshim. We mustguard againstascribingto the
reactiontheyawakenthestabilitybelonging
to thenames
affective
of the gods,to theirabode, and to any conceptualrepresentation
of them. The physicalobject called a fetishremainsthe same,
withwhichit is considered
at variousmoments
need
butthefeeling
not remainconstant. Whenhe is beingreviled,the fetishis no

SOCIOLOGYAND PSYCHOLOGY

327

longereitheran objectof magicor of religion. Strictlyspeaking,


a beingis a god to a particular
personat thosemoments
onlywhen
he standsto thatpersonin theparticularrelationconstituting
the
he is no morethana potenreligious
life; outsideofthosemoments
tialgod.
Now the traditionaldoes not possess in itself,necessarily,the

qualityof sacredness. I do not contestthe factthatmuchof the


as equallytruethatpartsof the
is sacred,but I affirm
traditional
and insignificant,
are merelycustomary
that the attitraditional
of indifferent
is
one
towardtheseparts
tude of the conformer
is at timesrejected
automatism.More thanthat,the traditional
not exact
as worthless,or even as obstructive.It is therefore
to say that"everytradition
inspiresa veryspecificrespect." The
traditionsof anothernation,or, in the same nation,of another
social stratum,ofteninspirecontempt. It is true that in these
we do notacceptit; yetwe may,
casesit is notourowntradition,
and usuallydo, realizeit is a tradition.Traditionas suchis not,
sacred.
therefore,
The fuliforceof thisargumentappearswhenit is considered
that a movementfor social reformnecessarilybeginswith the
in individualmindsof theinferior
recognition
value,or theworthinanyparticuofa tradition. An attemptat socialreform
lessness,
of the unsacrednatureof some
lar directionis a demonstration
to thosewhowoulddo awaywithit. Whentheneworder
tradition
of thingshas becomelaw,thatis, whenit has receivedsocialsanction,it possessesthe qualityof sacredness.
Traditionsare sacredwhentheycome to us as the expression
of powerssuperiorto us and connectedwithus, whenthereare
withthesepowers,and whenfailure
waysof"puttingoneselfrights"
to thesewaysentailsdanger. Wheneverany of these
to conform
thetradition
elementsceases to belongto a tradition,
itselfceases
to be sacred,thoughit may still be fearfulor admirable; any
object-whethertraditionor not-possessingthesequalifications
is sacred. The conditionsunderwhicha greatunseenbeingwill
be sacred,howeverthethoughtofhimmayhave arisen,are those
just stated.

THE AMERICAN JOURNALOF SOCIOLOGY

328
2.

HOW MAGIC IS TO BE SEPARATED FROM RELIGION

Hubertand Mauss, acknowlDurkheimand his collaborators,


tribes,since
edgethepresenceoftwoformsofbehaviorin primitive
the two terms"magic"and
theyendeavorto use discriminatingly
"religion." It appearstome,and thisI shallnowtryto makeevident, that theiranalysisof the actionsdesignatedby these two
completeto uncoverthat which
names has not been sufficiently
When
constitutesan unequivocal means of differentiation.
Durkheimtellsus thatthereare religionsfromwhichthe idea of
God is absent,and thatin all religionsthereare ritestheefficacy
of any divinepower,becausetheriteacts
of whichis independent
he uses the termreligionin a different
by itself,mechanically,
sense fromthe one in whichmost people, amongwhomI am
usethatterm. Andwhenhe instancesoriginalBuddhism
included,
withouta god,he againuses "religion"ina sensewhich
as a religion
accepted. Tiele, forinstance,says that"primiis not commonly
tive Buddhismignoredreligion. It was onlywhen,in opposition
its god,and had thus
it had madeitsfounder
to itsfirstprinciples,
forits general
that
the
was
opened
a
way
reallybecome religion,
acceptance."'

is never,in the sensewhichI give


A riteactingautomatically
to the word religion,a religiousrite. It would, of course,be
irrelevantto showwithHubertand Mauss,2in orderto convince
in the Vedic religionexercises"a direct
me of error,thatsacrifice
in its own
influence
upon celestialphenomena;it is all-powerful
rightsand withoutany divineintervention."If it be so, these
not
sacrificesbelong,accordingto my principleof classification,
to religionbut to magic.
To whatfactsshaLlthenamereligionbe given,or whatare the
by whichreligionshall be separatedfrommagic?
characteristics
If one were to inquireinto the commonusage, I thinkthat it
wouldbe foundthat,on the whole,theycall "magic,"or "superstition"-in any case, not "religion"-theriteswhichact directly
or are automatically
effective;whereastheywould call religion
and volitionsare supposedto be
theritesin whichideas,feelings,
I
2

p. 137.
ofReligion,
oftheHistory
Outlines
II,
du Sacrifice,"
Anndesociologique,
"Essai surla natureet la function

I4.

SOCIOLOGY AND PSYCHOLOGY

329

awakenedin personalagents,by means that are not mechanical


thatis to
or automatic,but whichmay be calledanthropopathic,
offerings,
prayers,and thelike.
say,invocations,
But even if such werenot the currentuse of theseterms,the
following
reasonwould lead me to believethat it shouldbe the
technicalsenseascribedto them. Whenfactsare to be classified,
likenessesshould be put
those bearing the more fundamental
introducedinto
together. It appears to me that the difference
by thepassagefromtheuse of a mechanical,
consciousexperience
influence(offercoercitiveforceto the use of an anthropopathic
thanany other
ings,prayers,penances,etc.) is morefundamental
difference
existingbetweenthe factsto be classified. The results
oneproceedsmagicexpectedand securedmaybe thesamewhether
but the actions,even thoughtheyshouldbe
ally or religiously;
identical(supposingthistobe possible),areof'a different
externally
psychologicalnature. In one case, one compelsby mechanical means; in the other,one assumesa "personal" relationand
means to reach one's end. The
attemptsby anthropopathic
more
attitudeinvolvedin each could hardlydiffer
psychological
radically.
farfrom
We are toldby Durkheimthat" thenotionofdivinity,
is in realitymerelya secondaryepisode."
being-fundamental,
of religionfromother
Our presentproblem,the differentiation
activities,does not involvethe discoveryof thatwhichis fundaI grantthat,
but of thatwhichis differential.
mentalin religion,
forinstance,
withtheneedsand thedesirespromptwhencompared,
ingtoreligious
facts. But needs
action,thegod-ideasaresecondary
to each and everykind of human
and desiresare fundamental
ofmagicfromreligion,
activity. Withregardto thedifferentiation
the idea of a personalGreatBeingwho can be dealt withanthrois indeedfundamental.
popathically
It is to be observedthat,althoughin my viewbeliefin a perit is not in itselfsufficient
sonal beingis necessaryto religion,
to
from
markoffreligion
magic,fora godmaybe acteduponmechanici.e., magically. It is themannerof actingupon
ally,coercitively,
thegod whichseparatesthesetwokindsof behavior.
in these
If one accepts the principleof differentiation
offered

330

THE AMERICAN JOURNALOF SOCIOLOGY

pages,one may no longersay withHubertand Mauss "the religiousritesoftenconstrain;and thegod,in mostancientreligions,


powerof a rite
was not at all able to escape fromthe compelling
a magical
performed."'Such a riteis, by our definition,
properly
rite,eventhoughit actsupona personalbeing.
side by side,in
Magic and religionare foundveryfrequently
or groupsofceremonies.When,forinstance,
thesameceremonies
ofFinland,wishestoknowwhathas become
thehero,Wainamoinen
ofthesun and themoonthathavebeenstolenfromtheheavens,he
yet
by a prayerto UkkotheCreator[religion],
seekstheknowledge
and potentacts: firsthe
he accompanieshis prayerby mysterious
cutsthreechipsfromthealder,and laystheminmagicorder,touch[magic];and onlythendoeshe
themwithhisfingers
ingand turning
addressthesupremeGod,whois also called" thegreatMagician."12
magicand religionalwaysbear
But, howevercloselyinterwoven,
markswe have singledout.
thecleardifferentiating
If one rejectsthe principleI offerforthe separationof magic
wherecan onefindanotheracceptableone? Sacredfromreligion,
ness wouldnot do, forall are agreed'thatit belongsto both. In
fromwhichI have quoted,one doesnot
the articleof Durkheim,
on
theuse oftheseterms. But hislearned
information
definite
find
Hubert and Mauss, have made that questionthe
collaborators,
topicofa longessayto whichwe shallnowturn.3
to findthattheir
In readingHubertand Mauss,oneis surprised
at defining
magicand religionresultsonly n the discovery
effort
ofdegreeandnotofkind. Insteadofseparatdifferences
ofshifting
and
they have reallyconnectedthem. If
religion,
ing magic
impossible,
thefactsweresuchas to makea sharpdifferentiation
one wouldhave to acquiesce; but I have triedto showthat the
phenomenacoveredby the terms"magic" and "religion"can be
separatedon thebasisofan absolutedifference.
Op. cit.,p. i6.
Life,p. 136. I have
ThePsychology
oftheReligious
FromGeorgeM. Stratton,
Studyof
in mybook,A Psychological
ofthisclosecombination
givenotherinstances
Ig12.
andFuture. Macmillan,
Function,
Religion;Its Origin,
VII (1902-3),
de la magie,"Anniesociologique,
g6n6rale
3 "Esquissed'uneth6orie
viewregarding
These authorsaccept in substance,I believe,Durkheim's
I-I46.
ofsociology;and he is,as faras I know,in accordwiththemregarding
themethods
theiropinionon magic.
I

SOCIOLOGY AND PSYCHOLOGY

33I

They definemagicas "any ritewhichdoes not belongto an


and tends
organizedcult, which is private,secret,mysterious,
was intendedto be
towardtheprohibited
rite." If thisdefinition
strictlyconstrued;if,whenevera ritebelongedto an organized
cult,was socialand public,we had an instanceof religionand not
of magic,the definition
would be satisfactory.But the words
uponwhichit turnsare,accordingto ourauthors,to be takenonly
in a relativesense; we are reallyto understandthat the better
organized,the moresocial (the less individual),the morepublic
(thelesssecret)therite,themorereligiousit is. That suchis the
meaningof our authorsappearsplainlyin theirdiscussion. One
the individualcharacterof magic:
reads,forinstance,regarding
"Magical rites,and magicin its entirety,are firstof all factsof
tradition. Acts whichare not repeatedare not magical. Acts
of whichthe whole of a groupdoes not believe
in the efficacy
are not magical. The formof magicalritesis eminentlytransmissibleand is sanctionedby publicopinion. It followsfromthis
as forinstance,theparticular
thatactsthatare strictly
individual,
superstitious
practicesofplayers,cannotbe calledmagical." We
aretoldin thispassagethatmagicalritesarenotstrictly
individual,
but thattheyare performed
by, or for,a group; whereasin the
we were informedthat magic was a private affair.
definition
Amongmagicalpracticeswhichhave clearlya non-individualistic,
ceremonies
and beneficialcharacter,the rain-making
non-private,
standforemost.It seemsthenthattheyshouldbe calledreligious.
whichmeans,
Yet ourauthorsspeakof themas "quasi-religious,"
I takeit,thattheyare reallymagical. Whyshouldtheybe called
so does not appear; unlessit be simplybecause "the rain-maker
is a personwho generally
plays the r6leof evil sorcerer." Maleficentritesare said to be alwaysmagical,but we are also toldthat
thereare religiousrites "which are equally evil; such are, for
instance,imprecations
againstthe enemyof the city,againstthe
violatorof a sepulchreor ofan oath,and all thedeath-ceremonies
whichsanctionritualinterdictions.",
The attemptto differentiate
magicfromreligionon theground
of socialvalue,ofpubliccharacter,
ofbeneficence,
offullerorganiof
zation the ceremonials,
failsbecause all that can be claimed,
IOp.

Cit., pp. I4, I7.

THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY

332

even accordingto our authors,is that religionpossessesthese


qualitiesmoregenerallyand to a higherdegreethan magic. In
one mustlook,as I have donein the
orderto obtaina differentia,
naturesof therelapsychological
section,to thedifferent
preceding
and
the
objectuponwhich
the
between
performer
tionsestablished
he endeavorsto act.
noticed by our authors,that, for
The relativedifferences
instance,religionis turnedto accountforsocialendsmorewidely
in
differences
thanis magic,are a consequenceof thefundamental
originand in naturethatI have indicated. Sinceearlygods are
regardedas tribalancestors,creators,or naturebeings,theyare
butwiththesocial
related,notwithisolatedindividuals,
intimately
be for
groupas a whole. The naturaltendencywould therefore
the tribeas a wholeto maintainrelationswiththesebeings. On
the other hand, no obvious reason exists for a non-personal,
magicalPower to be consideredas belongingto, or as actingfor,
the entirecommunity.It is at the serviceofany individualwho
chancesto getholdofit.
explainswhy, when the
This same fundamentaldifference
ofmagicianand ofpriesthas taken
separationbetweentheoffices
place,the magicianis morelooselyconnectedwiththe tribethan
is thepriest.
evilcharacter
ofmagicis also readilyexplained.
The frequently
involvedbetweengods and the tribe,in
The blood-relationship
ofancestraland creatorgods,necessarily
impliesa
the conception
generalattitudeof benevolencetowardthe tribe. The gods are,
in theoryat least,inaccessibleto theenemyof the comtherefore,
of personalpowers
mon weal. The worship,by a community,
of the
recognizedas evil would lead speedilyto the destruction
of
forit would resultin a systematicstrengthening
community,
antisocialforces. Thus it comesto pass thatmagicis muchused
ofindividualand ofevilpurposes.
forthegratification
3.

PSYCHOLOGY IN THE STUDY OF SOCIAL FACTS

and ofsociology
ofthenatureofreligion
Durkheim'sconception
ofreligion
and
him
the
that
the
to
leads
origin development
opinion
a concernof sociology.
are exclusively

SOCIOLOGY AND PSYCHOLOGY

333

thattheoriginofreligionis not to be
It is thusa corollaryof ourdefinition
and
foundin individualfeelingsor emotionsbut in statesof the dmecollective,
of
thatit variesas do thesestates. Did religionarise out of the constitution
. It is
theindividual,it wouldnot appear to him in a coercitiveaspect....
not in humannaturein generalthat one mustseek forthe deterconsequently
miningcause of religiousphenomena;it is in the natureof the societyto which
theybelong,and if theyhave variedin the courseof historyit is because the
social organismitselfhas changed.'

In the writings
fromwhichI quote,Durkheimdoes not once
mention
socialpsychology.But he opposesthroughout
"individual
psychology"to "sociology." He writes,for instance, "even
had no longerany secretsforus,
thoughindividualpsychology
it could not give us the solutionof any of thoseproblems[the
problemsof sociology],
sincetheyreferto factsofan orderoutside
the rangeof individualpsychology."I would not dissentfrom
thisstatement,
provided"sociology"means,or includes,thepsyin so faras theyaffectthesocial
chologyofgroupsof individuals,
body and are affectedby its presence. But if this and other
with
similarpassagesshouldmean thatsociologyis not concerned
ofsocialactionin termsofconsciousness,
theinterpretation
thatit
can dispensewiththe introspective
method,i.e., thatsociologyis
not a psychological
science,but limitsitselfto the observationof
theexternal
activitiesofman,thentheastonishment
and theoppositionwhichthemethodological
ofDurkheimhaveinspired
writings
are,it seemstome,legitimate. " Sociology"may,however,
be used
for"social psychology,"
or at leastas
by himas a briefsynonym
including
thisbranchofpsychology;ifso, hispositionbecomes,to
even afterthe explanations
me, unobjectionable.Unfortunately,
providedin the prefaceto the secondeditionof Les reglesde la
thereremainsamplecause forperplexity.
mnthode
sociologique,
I wishto makeit perfectly
clearat theoutsetthatI agreewith
thosewhoholdthateveryceremony,
whateveritskind,is a social
fact. A ceremonynecessarilyhas reference
to otherselves. It
involvesa relationbetweenan individualand thegroupto which
he belongs. Hence the questionI am about to consideris not
whetherreligiousrites are independentof the social life,but
or howfar, theycan be fully understood
whether,
whenobserved
I

Anntesociologique,
II, 24.

334

THE AMERICAN JOURNALOF SOCIOLOGY

from the outside,as overtactions,withoutthe assistanceof a


psychological
interpretation
of the statesof consciousness
which
theyexpress. Ceremoniesare the outcomeof moreQr less clear
processestakingplace in individuals,
undertheinfluence
of other
consciousagents,feeling,thinking,and actingas a unit. The
so-called"social" forcesbeforewhichthebelieverbowsare known
to him as ideas, feelings,impulses,desires. ThereforeI shall
maintainthat the fullunderstanding
of religion,as of social life
in general,demandsnot onlythe observation
of the externaloutof
the
come
collectivelifeof consciousbeings,but also its interpretationin termsof consciousness.
Althoughthe presentdiscussionis conductedwithimmediate
reference
to religiousbehavior,it has a muchbroaderscope. It
appliesto the respectivesharesof psychology
and of sociologyin
thestudyofsocialphenomena.
Durkheim's
argument
maybe briefly
formulated
thus: Societies,
as the restof the world,are governedby laws proceedingnecesit. These
sarilyfromthenatureof thesesocietiesand expressing
laws are different
fromthe laws of individualpsychology
because
is not
individuallifediffers
fromsociallife; thesocialconstitution
the same as theindividualconstitution.He writes,forinstance,
of the social reprobation
of certainkindsof behaviorand of the
of crime: "If it [society]condemnscertainmodesof
punishment
conduct,it is because they shock fundamentalfeelingsof the
and
group; and thesefeelings
arisefromthephysicaltemperament
of the group. Thus, even though
fromthe mentalorganization
individualpsychology
had no longerany secretforus, it couldnot
give us the solutionof any of thoseproblemssincetheyreferto
factsofan orderignoredby individualpsychology." Ofwhatuse
couldintrospection
be, sincethe greaterpart of thesocialinstitutionsis transmitted
ready-made? How could we in questioning
we do
findthecausesfromwhichtheyarose? Moreover,
ourselves
not alwaysknowthe real reasonsforour actions,neitherdo we
knowall ofthereasons. And, forthe rest,each individualplays
of thegrouplife.'
but an infinitesimal
rOlein theformation
betweenindividualand social facts,
Whetherthe difference
I

Prefaceto 2d ed. ofLes ragles.

SOCIOLOGYAND PSYCHOLOGY

335

and the so-called"social conbetweenindivi'dualconsciousness


sciousness,"
is overstatedby himor not,Durkheimis unfortunate
whenhe attemptsto supporthiscontention
by drawingan analogy
betweenthe relationof chemistry
to biology,and therelationof
individualpsychologyto sociology. "It is not the non-living
particlesof the cell [atomsof carbon,nitrogen,
etc.] whichfeed
themselves,
reproducethemselves,
which,in a word,live; it is the
cellitself,and onlythe cell." "The hardnessof bronzeis not in
intoits formathecopper,norin thetin,norin thelead entering
tion. These metalsare softor flexible. Its hardnessbelongsto
ofwaterand ofitsalimenofthefluidity
theirmixture." Similarly
taryproperties."Thus theseparationwhichwe establishlateron
betweenpsychology
proper,or thescienceof thementalindividual,
and sociologyis seento be justified
by a newargument.",
If the relationbetweenthe individualand societyweretruly
in everyrespectthesameas thatbetweenatomsand theirchemical
compounds,Durkheim'scontentionfor a sociologyindependent
of individualpsychology
wouldbe valid. But thisis one of the
instancesin whichthe factscompared,
similarin certainrespects,
areillegitimately
dealtwithas iftheyweresimilarin otherrespects.
Hence the conclusiondrawnfromthe comparisonincludesmore
thanis warrantedby the likenessesbetweenthe facts. It is true
thatneithercopper,nor tin,norlead is as hardand inflexible
as
thebronzeformed
by theircombination,
and thefluidity
is a propertybelongingto neitherone nor the otherof the component
elementsof water. But thesefactsshowmerelythatelementsof
a certainnatureformcompoundspossessingproperties
ofa certain
to theseparateelements. Beforeone is justikind,not belonging
fiedin drawingtheparallelwhichDurkheimdraws,thereremains
to be shownthathumanelementsare similarto chemicalelements
withregardto thepoint at issue. Durkheimassumesthat they
are. As a matterof fact,thepresenceof consciousness
introduces
intothe relationof individualsto societyan essentialelementnot
to be foundin therelationofphysicalelementsto theircompounds.
This difference
appears to me whollyto invalidateDurkheim's
parallel.
TIbid.

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In theprefaceto thesecondeditionofLes regles,we findwhat


a concession
maybe regardedas a concessionto psychology,
which
in my estimationis still far fromsufficient,
but whichlays the
fora futureagreement
theshareofpsycholfoundation
concerning
ogy in the investigation
of sociologicalfacts. Durkheimbegins
of individualand social facts.
the heterogeneity
by reaffirming
"The statesof the collectiveconsciousness
are of anothernature
than the statesof individualconsciousness;theyare representations of anotherkind. The mentalityof groupsis not that of
individuals. It has its ownlaws. The twosciencesare therefore
as definitely
distinctas twosciencescan wellbe,whateverrelations
may in otherrespectsexistbetweenthem." This said, he makes
the admissionthat social phenomenaare psychological."One
and collectiverepremayask oneselfif individualrepresentations
sentationsdo notresembleeach otherin thattheyare bothreprecertain
sentations;and if, in consequenceof this resemblance,
abstractlaws mightnot be commonto both spheres." "One
comesthusto conceivethe possibilityof a psychology
altogether
and to
formal,belongingin commonto individualpsychology
he is not
sociology." But whetherthisis morethana possibility,
readyto say. The imperfect
stateofourknowledgeseemsto him
to make a categoricalanswerimpossible;we do not know "the
laws accordingto whichcollectiverepresentations
[ideas]associate
or repeleach other."
Beforeconcluding
I wishto turntoparticular
factsinan attempt
to indicate,moreconcretely
thanI have doneso far,thenecessity
underwhichthe studentof social lifeis to makeuse bothof the
objectiveand of theintrospective
(psychological)
method. I shall
findit convenient
to choosemyinstancesin the fieldof the origin
ofreligion.
I may be permitted
a preliminary
remarkconcerning
the onesidedconceptions
whichhave so farprevailedregarding
theorigin
of religion. Some authorshave writtenas if, when they had
accountedforthe originof the god-ideas,theyhad explainedthe
originof religion. Others have thoughtthat theirwork was
finished
whentheyhad discoveredthe emotionor emotionschar-

SOCIOLOGY AND PSYCHOLOGY

337

acteristicof the earliestreligions. Still othershave been content


to bringto lightthe originalreligiouspractices. But religionis
neitheridea, nor emotion,nor practice; it includesall of these,
forit is a formof life,a typeof consciousbehavior. The taskof
the studentof originsis to determinethe beginnings
of religion
withregardto theseseveralconstituent
elements.
The presenceof religionimpliesthat of needs and desires:
needforfood,desireforpower,forself-respect,
etc. But thereare
no needand no desirereligious
perse. A needentersintothereligiouslifewhenit becomesthe instigator
of themodeof behavior
of the need is thought
calledreligion,i.e., whenthe gratification
to be dependentupon a powerof a psychicand, usually,personal
nature.
i. Religionsare commonly
separatedinto ethical and nonindicatesthegreatimportance
ethicalreligions. Thisclassification
of theappearanceofethicalneedsin religiouslife; theytransform
in an investiinstitutions.Wouldit notbe preposterous,
religious
from
to refrain
to theintrogationof thistransformation,
turning
of ethical religions
spectivedata whichfoundersand reformers
haveleftus, and frominterpreting
inthelightofourownconsciousness of ethical relationstheirautobiographies,
letters,didactic
etc.? Arenotthesewritings
a uniquesourceofinformawritings,
tionas to how theseindividualsapprehended
social life,and why
whiletheystruggled
theyrejectedcertainofitsbeliefsand practices,
and evendiedin orderto introduce
others?
Is there,forinstance,nothingofimportance
to be leamed in a
ofhis aesthetic
studyofLuther'sprivatelife,ofhis temperament,
and ethicalsensibility,
the
desirousof understandby
sociologists
ing the causes of the transformation
of religiousinstitutions
in
whichhe was thechiefindividualinstrument?The day is indeed
past forbelievingthat an individual,howevermighty,can cast
societyin any moldshapedby his fancy. We knownow thatthe
menwhohave lefttheirimpressuponsocietyhave beenprivileged
to do so because theywerethe instruments
of communalforces.
But thebrilliancy
ofthisdiscovery
shouldnotblindus to theshare
belongingto the individualin the social work. Why is it that
Luther and not some otherone of the millionsof his fellow-

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becametheReformer? Is it merelybecausehe alone


countrymen
was placed in just thoseexternalcircumstances
whichwouldmake
ofa manthereformer
thathe was? The externalinfluences
which
acted upon Lutherwere,withoutdoubt,indispensable,
but must
not Lutherhimselfbe consideredan originalcenterof energy?
Do not Luther'sinternalstruggleswithcertainpassions,his consciousnessof sin, and the finaltriumphof faithunderpeculiar
throwa lightupon theLutherandoctrineof justicircumstances,
ficationby faithwhichcannotbe shedby a merelyexternalstudy
and ofthedoctrines
he setforth
?
ofthebehaviorofthereformer
is merelythat
Expressedin moregeneralterms,mycontention
sociallife; theymodify
individualsdo morethanreflect
it,forthey
are centersof creativeenergy. Identical circumstances
acting
at the same momentupon two personswillnot produceidentical
effects,formen are not identical.-Why men differis another
are to be accountedforin partby the
problem. Theirdifferences
inwhichtheyhave
different
circumstances,
physicaland psychical,
grown. I say "in part,"becauseit cannotbe assumedthatmen
at the start,theygrow
are bornidentical,and because,different
stillmoredifferent,
thoughlivingin thesamemilieu.
tellsus thata studyofeconomicconditions
Whenan economist
coverswhateverneedbe knownin orderto understand
and predict
the numberof suicides,he forgetsthat thereare otherfactors
man'slifebesidespoverty. Aretherenotmenwhodelight
affecting
seek povertyand starve
in want and privation,who voluntarily
theirbodies,not to destroybut only to rule it? What definite
and exact relationwould therebe betweensuicideand poverty
in a community
possessedby the ascetic'sideal to whichI allude?
it
not
And is
well knownthat ideas are contagious,particularly
and thatthereare
in certainpersonsand in certaincircumstances,
epidemicsof suicide,the partialcause of whichis to be foundin
individualsuggestibility?
2. Whetherone holds(as I do), or not,that the properuse of
theword"religion"involvesbeliefin unseen,hyperhuman
powers,
usually personal,the genesisand developmentof the god-ideas
one of theimportant
constitute
problemsof the originof religion.
Primitivegods are probably in many instances ancestors

SOCIOLOGY AND PSYCHOLOGY

339

beendeified
? Whatare
deified. But howandwhyhaveancestors
and what are the mental
the needs whichpromptto deification
operationsinvolved in the process? These questions require
of a solutionto say,
answers. It is but a beginning
psychological
forinstance,that the gods of any particulartribeare water-gods,
becausethetribe'slifeis dependentto an unusualdegreeuponthe
ocean. Fish are altogether
dependentupon water,yet theyhave
no gods.
In questioningcivilizedpersons,one discoversthat certainof
themlive in a worldpeopledby invisiblebeingsand othersare
entirely
freefromthat belief. This difference
appearsnot infrein the same family.
quentlybetweenpersonsbroughtup together
One memberof thefamilyhas rejectedgods,angels,and demons;
anotherhas incorporatedthemin his social group. There are
individualpsychological
affinities
and immunities.The sociologist
who wouldgo to the bottomof the questionof beliefand creed
notonlymustperforce
inquireintotheexternalinfluences
towhich
thesediverging
but he mustturn
personsare equallysubmitted,
psychologist
and examinethe individualcauses of the observed
divergences.
God-ideasmay arisein severalways in additionto the direct
deification
of great chiefs: in naive attemptsto explaincertain
factsof commonobservation(dreams,trances,swoons,etc.), in
the personification
of strikingphenomena(thunder,vegetation,
in
etc.), answerto theproblemofcreation.
How shallone get in any particularinstanceto the originof a
god-idea? One cannotquestionthosewho firstbroughtit out,
theyhave goneforever.And ifone questionstheexistingsavage,
one findsusuallythat he cannotgive a satisfactory
accountof
hisbeliefand behavior. Nevertheless,
muchhas beenlearnedfrom
the savage'sown accountof himself. The psychologist
maysupplementthe knowledgethus securedby an examinationof the
child'smind. And he may, further,
by self-introspection
secure
much that may serve in the interpretation
of the behaviorof
primitive
man. Durkheim'sremarkthatwe do not alwaysknow
the truereasons,nor all the reasons,forour actionsis evidently
true. But it is just as truesurelythatwe usuallyknowsomeof

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themand thata studyof actionsconsideredobjectivelydoes not,


more exactlyor fully,reveal all the motivesof behavior. By
gettingintrospective
descriptions
frommanypersonsof thecauses
of the same actions,one has as good a chance,it wouldseem,of
makinga full and exact discoveryof causes as by an external
method. In any case,I do notknowwhyoneshouldneglect
either
whensearching
the
ofthesemethods
genesis
of
the
god-ideas.
for
of hallucinations
and of
3. One mayhinthereat the influence
"revelations"upon the formationof religions.The contentof
theallegedrevelations
is, in part,providedby thesocialformsand
ideals,and in partby thatwhichis peculiarto theseer.
is a potentfactorofdevelopIn thehigherreligions,
mysticism
of mysticalsouls,in the peculiarity
ment. In the consciousness
of theirlikesand dislikes,religiousformsand ideals
and intensity
oftheideals
areelaborated,not,ofcourse,in absoluteindependence
and formsof the lifeabout them,but oftenin deadlyantagonism
of certain
to the dominatingones. An adequate understanding
of religioncannotbe had withoutan
phases of the development
of theinnerlifeof the greatmystics.
investigation
4. Anotherset of problemswith which the sociologistmust
of
withthepsychologist
deal in collaboration
treatsof the effects
religiousinstitutions
upon society. The tonicvalue of beliefin
benevolentgods; the use made of them for securingphysical
goods,or subjectivequalitieswithwhichgodshave beenendowed
by theverypersonsdesiringthesequalities; thepeace,theassurance, the joy that are the most commonfruitsof the ethical
religions;the sense of divinepresence; the transformations,
at
timesmarvelous,happeningin manypersonsunderthe influence
ofreligiousconvictions-these
and othersimilarproblemsdemand
cannotbe providedaltogether
which
and explanations
descriptions
or by thesociologist
eitherby thepsychologist
workingindependently;theyare problemsof socialand individualpsychology.
The place of the introspective
psychologicalmethodin the
to me self-evident,
studyof social lifeis impliedin thefollowing,
propositions:
i. The consciousness
and, therefore,
theactionsof individuals
are deeplyand variouslymodifiedby the presenceof the other

SOCIOLOGY AND PSYCHOLOGY

34I

consciousbeingsformingthe group. An individualin a crowd


doesnot behaveas he wouldif he werealone in the same circumstances,forhe is movedto actionbothdirectly
by externalevents,
and by thoseeventsas theyare reactedto by themembersof the
crowd.
2. Nevertheless,
all needs,all desires,
feelings,
ideas,and actions,
whethertheybe called individualor social,appear exclusively
in
consciousindividuals.
The term"social consciousness"may be intendedto mean
theconsciousness,
inan individual,
ofthegrouptowhichhe belongs,
forexample,ofitsauthoritative
demandsuponhim. In thatsense
the expression
has a definite
and is legitimately
significance
used.
If "social consciousness"is given anothermeaning,that new
adheredto. The
meaningshouldbe clearlydefinedand carefully
it in one senseand
dangerofjugglingwiththatexpression,
defining
usingit in another,is verygreat. When "social consciousness"
is notusedin thesensein whichindividualsare said to be conscious
ofa desire,ofan emotion,
ofa purpose,whatdoesit mean? There
is no "social consciousness"
in any senseotherthanthatof "consciousness
ofthegroupin theindividualscomposing
it"; thereis no

ame collective,no sentimentcollectif,but only collections of souls,

commonto all themembersof thegroup.


and sentiments
3. Life in societyis the outcomeof the reactionsof conscious
individualsto theircommonphysicalsurroundings,
and to the
otherindividualscomposingthe group,both whenconsideredas
independent
units,and whenconsideredas groups. A fullunderstandingof socialfactsrequires,therefore,
(a) a knowledgeof the
physicalenvironment;(b) a knowledgeof the nature of the
ofthepsychicalenvironment,
reactingindividuals;(c) a knowledge
i.e.,oftheneeds,desires,habits,ideas,and feelings
commonto the
ofthegroup.
members
4. Since social facts"all consistin ways of thinkingand acting,"theultimateexplanationwillhave to be givenin psychological terms,i.e., sociologyis a psychologicalscienceof whichthe
ofsocialinstitutions
observation
is merelythestarting-point.'
whichhavearisenon theappearanceofLes reglesde la methode
I The discussions
I fear,in severalinstances
fromthelack ofa cleardifferentiation
sociologique
suffer,
betweenindividual
and a psychology
ofgroupofconscious
psychology
individuals
as

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Whateverthe conclusionsupon whichpsychologists


and sociin agreement,
I am sure
ologistsmay ultimatelyfindthemselves
thedebtowedto Durkheimand his schoolforthevigorwithwhich
theheretofore
theyhave pushed,in thestudyofreligion,
neglected
objective method,and for the valuable fruitsthe methodhas
alreadyproduced,will remaina heavy one.
by and as theyaffectthegroupto whichtheybelong,i.e., social
theyare affected
psychology.Regardingthispoint,I mustlimitmyselfto-verybriefstatements.
includesthe topicsusuallydealt within the psychological
Individualpsychology
" psychology.It dealswiththeattributes
manualsofthekindnowcalled" structural
therelationof
sensibility,
of stimuli,
thediscrimination
thethreshold
of sensations,
ofsensations,
to thepleasantandtheunpleasant,
withtheconnections
with
sensation
ofattention,
andphysiological
condition
etc.,
thelawsofrecall,withthepsychological
to theparticular
influence
exercised
reference
uponmentallifebythe
all thiswithout
in evidencechiefly
in the
ofotherconscious
existence
beings. The recentmovement,
topassintothe
has an inherent
tendency
psychology,
UnitedStates,calledfunctional
withthemodiis primarily
concerned
fieldof socialpsychology.Socialpsychology
ofthegrouptowhichtheybelong,
inindividuals
bytheconsciousness
fications
wrought
ofthegroup.
behaviorprompted
by theconsciousness
and withthecommon
of thatwhichis calledindividual
fromthatwhichdeservesthe
The separation
is notin everyinstanceeasy. But one mayaffirm
in
name"social" in psychology
ofpsychology
dealswithfactsofconsciousgeneralthatsinceeachofthesebranches
lawsin common.Whattheselawsarewill
ness,theywillhavecertainfundamental
betweenindividualpsygrows. A completeagreement
appear as our knowledge
shouldnotbe, however,
and sociologists
hopedforuntilbothhavecarried
chologists
whichmaybe expected
theirworkfarenoughtomakeevidentthekindofcontribution
ofthem.