This eBook has been formatted to the highest digital standards and adjusted for readability on all devices. The Elementary Forms of Religious Life analyses religion as a social phenomenon. Durkheim attributes the development of religion to the emotional security attained through communal living. His study of totemic societies in Australia led to a conclusion that the animal or plant that each clan worshipped as a sacred power was in fact that society itself. According to Durkheim, early humans associated such feelings not only with one another, but as well with objects in their environment. This, Durkheim believed, led to the ascription of human sentiments and superhuman powers to these objects, in turn leading to totemism.