Religion in French Social Theory

The problem of religion and society has been central to French social thought from the time of the seventeenth-century religious philosopher Blaise Pascal. It becomes particularly prominent during the period after the French Revolution in the work of figures such as Auguste Comte and Joseph de Maistre. In the twentieth century, religion, magic, myth, and related topics became central concerns for figures such as Émile Durkheim, Marcel Mauss, Henri Hubert, and their school as well as other French or Francophone authors such as Arnold van Gennep, Lucien Lévy-Bruhl, and Henri Bergson. A variety of other more recent writers, including Georges Bataille, Claude Lévi-Strauss, and Lucien Goldmann have renewed this interest in differing ways.

Important sociological insights concerning the role of religious experience in social existence are ...

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