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Karl Marx vs Emile Durkheim: a Comparison

In: Religion Topics

Submitted By oabonasello
Words 2029
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Introduction
This essay intends to explicitly compare Karl Marx and Emile David Durkheim ideas on religion from a sociological and functionalist perspective. Functionalists’ belief that religion is beneficial for both the community and its members e.g. it unifies the society which in turn gives each individual member a source of support when they need it. It will begin with their brief historical backgrounds, definition of religion as well as their similarities and differences in studying it.
Karl Marx
Marx was born in Prussia on May 5, 1818. He began exploring sociopolitical theories at university among the Young Hegelians. He became a journalist, and his socialist writings would get him expelled from Germany and France. In 1848, he published The Communist Manifesto with Friedrich Engels and was exiled to London, where he wrote the first volume of Das Kapital and lived the remainder of his life (Engels, 1869). Marx is considered as one of the founders of economic history and sociology.
Emile Durkheim
According to Jones (1986) “David Emile Durkheim was born in France, on April 15, 1857 and raised in a Jewish family with his father as a rabbi. Emile was, thus destined for the rabbinate, and a part of his early education was spent in a rabbinical school” (p.12). Durkheim is considered the father of modern sociology and well known for his work on Division of Labour in 1912.
Definition of Religion
Both Marx and Durkheim have rather contrasting definitions of what religion is with the former describing it basically as the opium of the masses whilst the latter sees it as a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things, that is to say, things set apart and forbidden, beliefs and practices which unite into one single moral community called church and all those who adhere to them (Bois, 1916).
According to Litchmann (1968) in (Kessel, 1983) Marx…...

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