It is my assertion that our modern and media-influenced society doesn't use such black and white concepts. Through the development of our society into a more secularized world, behaviors, objects and social institutions within society have been given more of a 'sliding scale' definition that range from Taboo to Sacred.
To explore this relation and this new 'Sacred-Profane' relation, I've created a series of three surveys that will be administered to students at Shawnee State University (at first) to attempt to ascertain this changing nature of what is now considered 'sacred'. The three surveys are entitled the "2-Phase Model", using Durkheim's original Sacred/Profane relationship, the "3-Phase Model" where students are given the choice of Taboo, Mundane and Sacred, and the "5-Phase Model" where students can choose from Taboo, Profane, Mundane, Revered and Sacred.
The reason for the three surveys is to attempt to more accurately capture the participant’s views upon the sacred.
If given the option for a definition that is alternative to Durkheim's original "2-Phase Model", will the participants imply their own classification? Has society, due to a number of factors, created their own 'sliding scale' of what is to be considered 'sacred' within their shared reality?
I am also attempting to identify any correlations within the responses to various demographic data points. Namely the sex of the respondent, the religious affiliation (what type of religious denomination they are affiliated with) and religious attendance (how often they attend organized religious services).
It is my assertion that religious attendance will be more of an indicator for A) how often someone defines a behavior or social institution as sacred, B) what types of behaviors or social institutions as sacred and lastly C) the presence or absence of alternative definitions (non-sacred responses) to various behaviors or social institutions. One could easily see the connection between religious attendance and degree of internalized values for the 'sacred' elements of society. That is, do people who attend organized religious services often have a more defined sense of what is 'sacred' within their social world?
Values, either collective or individual, are learned and shaped through one's socialization over their lives. If the respondents are attending regular, organized, religious activities then it is logical to assume that they are being socialized to share the collective value structures of that religion on a routine basis. Though you would expect to see some degree of individual value structures independent of one's religious attendance, it is my understanding that there should be some relation between religious attendance and religious affiliation.
In addition to this correlation, I am also adding the layer of the respondent’s sex upon this research to see if there is any pattern that can be ascertained based on their responses. I.e. do women have a more defined sense of what is or what is not sacred within their lives than men?