AQA A2 Sociology- Religion and Marxism

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  • Marxism and Religion
    • Religion and the R/C
      • R/C use religion to maintain their economic and ideological power
        • Religion legitimises inequality- W/C accept their social position as religion makes them believe its God given.
        • Religion acts as a smoke screen- rituals and ceremonies show the W/C how important religion is.
        • Marxists and Functionalists both say that religion is a conservative force.
    • Religion and the State
      • The state is part of the superstructure- R/C control the W/C through religion.
      • Politics and Religious organisations are normally close- The Queen is the head of the CofE and PM has audiences with the Pope.
      • The relationship between leaders of the country and churches maintains their power and influence over the W/C.
    • Neo-Marxism
      • Engels- religion isnt a conservative force- it brings change as early Christians used their religion to free themselves from their oppressors.
      • Turner- Materialistic theory- religion is connected to the economic system but its not always been an ideological tool, as religion used ot maintain the R/C wealth and influence but as marriage and family attitudes change the R/C use religion less.
      • Gramsci- Dual Character of religion- it has challenged and supported the R/C. E.g Catholic Church supported Mussolini's fascist regime but in Latin America it encouraged the W/C to rebel.
    • Evaluation
      • Religion is a source of conflict.
        • There are examples of conflicts centered around religion e.g. Northern Ireland.
        • Functionalists- religion promotes social unity- religion binds individuals together and contributes to social harmony.
      • Religion = ideological tool
        • The idea of God's will and divine right has in many religions made people accept their social positions.
        • Religion's authority has declined as more rational thinking is now dominant so the lack of power means its no longer an ideological tool.
      • Religion exists for economic reasons.
        • Many rituals and rules comes from man not religion- e.g. wearing the Burqa isnt a rule in the Qur'an
        • Interventionists- Marx ignores other reasons for religion's existence and the ways people interpret it. E.g. Many Muslim women see the burqa as a good thing- it stops the male gaze.


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