Hertz, Robert

Hertz, Robert

Bio: (1881-1915) French sociologist and anthropologist. Robert Hertz completed his undergraduate studies at the École normale supériore, and before he was able to complete his doctoral dissertation, he died in the First World War. Hertz was one of the students of Durkheim and Mauss and was also a contributor to the journal L'Année Sociologique. Hertz is best known for his study of the collective notion of death and his contributions to the sociology of religion. He explores the duality in social structure. It aims to show that the meaning of perceived facts derives from their connection, as well as to reveal the hidden structural principles that lie behind these perceived facts. In the text "The Dominance of the Right Hand", he shows that the social and religious definition of the right hand influenced its primacy and not biological asymmetry. The right hand is an expression of the sacred, community and altar, order and harmony, prosperity and serenity; while the left hand symbolizes night, lawlessness, chaos, and evil. Most of what Hertz wrote was posthumously published in two books.


Theoretical approaches

Durkheimian School

Main works

La Représentation collective de la mort (1907);

Prééminence de la main droite (1909);

Le péché et l'expiation dans les sociétés primitives (1922);

Sociologie religieuse et folklore (1928).

Works translated into English:

Death and the Right Hand (1960, in French 1907 and 1909).

Still Have Questions?

Our user care team is here for you!

Contact Us