AQA SCLY3 Beliefs in Society - Functionalist theories of Religion

HideShow resource information
View mindmap
  • Functionalist theories of religion
    • Durkhiem
      • Religion binds people together as it creates a collective conscience - shared believes and values which makes social life and co-operation possible. Without this, society would disintegrate.
        • Placing these values in the context of sacred makes it likely that it we will abide by the related social norms. Religion is therefore a key instrument of secondary socialisation.
      • All societies divide the world into the 'sacred' and 'profane' and religion relates to the sacred such as rituals and practices.
      • Australian Aboriginal Tribes
        • Found Totemism here and thought it represented religion at its most basic form. It arose from within society, and not outside it,
        • The totem symbloised both supernatural powers and the social life of the clan.
        • Totemic rituals reinforced the group's solidarity and sense of belonding. He believed that worshipping these totems they were worshipping scoeity itself.
      • Criticisms
        • Work was based on small-scale pre-literate society and these workings doesn't explain how it works for complex, religiously diverse modern society - therefore cannot generalise
        • Worsley - no sharp division between the sacred and the profane
        • Mestrovic - increasing diversity has fragmented the collective conscience
    • Religion promotes social harmony, integration and solidarity through the reinforcement of the value consensus.
    • Religion is part of the way of life of society, and it helps maintain cultural tradiitons and establish the basic rules of social life.
    • Malinowski
      • Emphasised more on psychological functions for the individual
      • Religion promotes social solidarity but developed as a response to the needs of the individual, in situations of uncertainty.
      • Identified two events where religion is involved: - life crisis (births, deaths) that are potentially disruptive and involve a religious ritual.
        • - life crisis (births, deaths) that are potentially disruptive and involve a religious ritual.
        • - situations where the outcome is uncertain and uncontrollable creating anxiety. eg. Trobriand Islanders found rituals associated with fishing in open sea but not when sailing in the lagoon which is safer.
      • Criticisms
        • Research was done in a pre-industrial society so these rituals are now seen as old.
    • Parsons
      • Religion provides and legitimises the core values of a culture thereby promotes social solidarity and stability.
      • Religion helps people adjust to their situation.
      • Provides meaning by furnishing answers to the eternal questions concerning suffering, justice and death.
        • Suffering tests people's faith, punishing them for their sins and gives dignity for those who struggle in the face of adversity.
      • Prvides core values and norms, which it sacralises and legitimises.
      • Criticisms
        • His view of society is limited by a white, middle class position
    • Civil Religion
      • Bellah was interested in how religion unifies society in a multi-faith society like the USA.
      • American society has a belief system that attaches sacred qualities to society itself.
      • It integrates society in a way that individual religions can't.
      • It's expressed in various rituals, symbols and beliefs such as the pledge of allegiance to the flag etc.
      • Amercain civil religion involves loyalty to the nation-state and a belief in God, which are both equated with being a true American.
      • It sacralises the American way of life and binds together Americans from different ethnic and religious backgrounds.
    • Criticisms
      • Neglects negative aspects such as religion as a course of oppression of the poor or women.
      • Ignores religion as a source of conflict such as in the Middle East there are conflicts between Palestinian Muslims and Israeli Jews.
  • Provides meaning by furnishing answers to the eternal questions concerning suffering, justice and death.
    • Suffering tests people's faith, punishing them for their sins and gives dignity for those who struggle in the face of adversity.

Comments

No comments have yet been made

Similar Sociology resources:

See all Sociology resources »See all Religion and beliefs resources »