Different from most other scholars, (1858 – 1917) saw the as the defining characteristic of religion, not faith in the supernatural. He saw religion as a reflection of the concern for society. He based his view on recent research regarding among the . With he meant that each of the many clans had a different object, plant, or animal that they held sacred and that symbolizes the clan. Durkheim saw as the original and simplest form of religion. The analysis of this simple form of religion could provide the building blocks for more complex religions. He asserted that moralism cannot be separated from religion. The sacred i.e. religion reinforces group interest that clash very often with individual interests. The function of religion is group cohesion often performed by collectively attended rituals. He asserted that these group meeting provided a special kind of energy, which he called , that made group members lose their individuality and to feel united with the gods and thus with the group. Differing from Tylor and Frazer, he saw magic not as religious, but as an individual instrument to achieve something.


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