Universität Wien

240118 SE Reading French Anthropology of Religion: a Critical Presentation, from Durkheim to Bourdieu (P4) (2013S)

(with an Italian counterpoint)

Continuous assessment of course work

Compulsory attendance in the first unit!


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


max. 40 participants
Language: English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Monday 29.04. 13:15 - 14:45 Seminarraum A, NIG 4. Stock
Tuesday 30.04. 13:15 - 14:45 Seminarraum A, NIG 4. Stock
Thursday 02.05. 13:15 - 14:45 Seminarraum A, NIG 4. Stock
Friday 03.05. 13:15 - 14:45 Seminarraum A, NIG 4. Stock
Monday 06.05. 13:15 - 14:45 Seminarraum A, NIG 4. Stock
Tuesday 07.05. 13:15 - 14:45 Seminarraum A, NIG 4. Stock
Wednesday 08.05. 13:15 - 14:45 Seminarraum A, NIG 4. Stock
Friday 10.05. 13:15 - 14:45 Seminarraum A, NIG 4. Stock


Aims, contents and method of the course

The objective of this course is to present and discuss the works of French anthropologists on religion from Durkheim to Bourdieu. At the beginning of the XXth century, religion became the focus of the French School of Sociology, a discipline which was not separated from anthropology by Durkheim and his followers. The common thread of the eight lectures composing the course is the critical examination of the metamorphosis of the notion of sacred. As a theoretical counterpoint, the anthropology of religion of the Italian Ernesto De Martino will also be discussed.

Emile Durkheim, the sacred and the profane
Marcel Mauss , magic, sacrifice and prayer
Michel Leiris, the ethnography of self and the ordinary sacred
Roger Caillois, the myth and the sacred
Roger Bastide, Afro-America: the dynamics of religion
Claude Levi-Strauss, symbolic efficacy, Totemism and religion
Pierre Bourdieu, from the demon of analogy to the theory of the religious field
Ernesto De Martino (an Italian counterpoint): the magical world and the crisis of presence

Assessment and permitted materials

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

Examination topics

Reading list

The course is based on two books published by Erwan Dianteill and Michael Löwy:
-(avec Michael Löwy) Sociologie et religion II Approches dissidentes. Paris, PUF, collection «Sociologie d’aujourd’hui», 2006, 188 p. Spanish translation (Manantial, Buenos Aires, 2009)
-(with Michael Löwy) Sociologie et religion III Approches insolites. Paris, PUF, collection «Sociologie d’aujourd’hui», 2009, 183 p. Spanish translation (Editorial de la Universidad Veracruzana, Veracruz, MX, 2013).
See also: (with Francis Affergan), revue L’Année sociologique, 2012 (2), dossier: Sociologie et anthropologie. Avril 2012, and Dianteill, Erwan, ed., Marcel Mauss, l’anthropologie de l’un et du multiple, Paris, PUF, 2013, particularly the chapter by E. Dianteill entitled «De la magie dans le don - retour sur Mauss, Lévi-Strauss et Godelier».

Association in the course directory

Last modified: Mo 07.09.2020 15:39