Religion Past and Present

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Integration Theory
(400 words)

[German Version]

With reflection on forced social differentiation, the question of the forces of social integration also arose in the course of the 19th century. H. Spencer in his sociology was the first to view differentiation and integration as mutually complementary processes. The search for answers quickly led to religion. Already the French counter-revolutionaries J.M. de Maistre and L.G.A. Bonald considered religion the guarantor of social order. W.R. Smith attributed a socio-integrative function to the sacrificial ritual. É. Durkheim picked up on this and elaborate…

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Krech, Volkhard, “Integration Theory”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 26 May 2022 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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