The Easter Egg and Togetherness By Nicholas Angelici

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The Easter egg. This innocuous little thing has massive amounts of symbolism behind it. It stands for fertility and rebirth in a spring season. But for someone looking at it from a Durkheimian point of view, this egg has a massive amount of meaning beyond this simple symbolism. It represents a massive amount of camaraderie between massive numbers of people. For this blog entry, I should point out the most important parts, demonstrating why Easter itself is so important.

Easter is a massive Christian holiday, with all the intricacies and rituals behind it. It serves to join and gather many individuals who share similar ideas. By gathering in this one location, they remove themselves from their isolated existence. Durkheim pointed out that environment such as this reaffirmed the collective conscience in a group’s behavior (Moberg: 93). He did, however, State that the individual was not the important factor. Although People will chant along with the songs in unison, the individual that is singing is not important to Durkheim.

Durkheim is not the only person that can analyze this information. In his view, this sort of ritual is what binds a community together. If you look at it from Marx’s perspective, A gathering such as this is to help ensure the authority and the power of the priests. They control the means of production in the system. When I refer to this as a means of production, I am not stating that there is a factory inside of a church. The means of production in this case is nothing more than the ability to gather income. The numerous offerings from the people in attendance during mass is more than enough to be considered a productive source of wealth.

Finally, let’s return to the egg in the picture. In my mind, this egg reinforces Durkheim’s view. People will gather to hunt down these colorful creations. In this case, there is no means of production to argue over. It is simply a reason to gather a large quantity of people for a social occasion. This is an excellent example of a Durkheimian view of the world.

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4 thoughts on “The Easter Egg and Togetherness By Nicholas Angelici

  1. I agree with your explanations for how the Easter Egg can represent not only an Durkheim perspective but a Marxist perspective as well. Seeing that Durkheim saw religion as a way for people to group together to feel part of a whole as opposed to separate from it. I like this example in relation to Durkheim also since the act of people coming together and having an ‘Easter egg hunt’ is another way for someone to feel part of the group.

  2. Couldn’t the means of production be the fact that people go to buy the eggs and the decorations to add to the eggs, also including all of the candy and plastic eggs involved with Easter or hunting of Easter eggs in general? I do like the way you use the Easter egg hunt as another way to describe Durkheim, it makes it a little easer to understand his point of view.

  3. I like that you showed the different way to look at the same thing. I really enjoyed looking at means of production for a church. After all, Churches need money to run and easter and christmas were the only times I ever went to church but that little basket collects a lot of money every time I visited. Rather than looking at a church as something merely ideological and a place for gathering and feeling like a part of a group, like Durkheim would, viewing it as a business and the priest in control of the resources and people showing up to mass as the labor is very interesting. In our society I feel it’s easy to look at that way because we are very used to seeing business and in some ways a church is no different.

  4. Helena – one of the striking features about Marxism is that buying/consumption aren’t considered production – it’s not producing anything, just moving things around. That has led to some interesting problems in the application of Marxism in politics, but also in analysis. With the rise of the feminist movement, some really great analysts pointed out that this helped to make women’s work in capitalist society invisible. After all, women are ‘supposed to’ work in the home, which means consumption – using the money from their husband’s production (labor) to just buy and consume stuff. In that view, then, women would only be liberated if they became wager laborers. All well and fine, said these analysts – but someone still had to cook, clean, change nappies, and so on!

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