Secularity in Durkheim's and Mauss' imagings of sociality and sociology.

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Author / Creator:Frank, Stephanie Anne.
Description:313 p.
Format: E-Resource Dissertations
Local Note:School code: 0330.
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Other authors / contributors:University of Chicago.
Notes:Advisor: Bruce Lincoln.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--The University of Chicago, The Divinity School, 2015.
Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 76-08(E), Section: A.
Summary:My dissertation retrieves the secularization project at the heart of French sociology, showing that the major works of the Durkheimian school are engaged in the project of articulating a viable 'secular' morality in the face of the diminishment of the Catholic Church in fin-de-siecle France. In particular, they are occupied with the problem of a secular model of moral motivation: how can we motivate people to act in ways that are not in accord with their own interests, narrowly conceived? My analysis reveals that Durkheim and his collaborator Mauss arrived at two quite different ethics based on their different critiques of religion. For Durkheim, religion is problematic insofar as the basis of its claims to authority is not transparent to reason. On his view, sociology can help us perceive the structure of religiosity and contrive 'rational' equivalents: thus his famous substitution of society for God. For Mauss, on the other hand, the problem is with religion's claims to authority, full stop: he wants to replace the 'vertical' ethics of an authority constraining us from above with a 'horizontal' ethics constituted by a network of reciprocal obligations (thus his work on gift exchange).