David Émile Durkheim (15 April 1858 - 15 November 1917) was a French sociologist. He developed functionalist theories of cultural analysis and offered a reductionist account of religion, based on the role that it plays in the various societies in which it occurs. Many of Durkheim's accounts focus on the religion of non-western cultures. His focus is on the practice of religion, rather than the beliefs that individual religious communities hold. His work The Elementary Forms of Religious Life (1912) is considered a seminal work in religious sociology.