AQA A2 Sociology- Religion and Postmodernism

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  • Created on: 29-05-16 16:28
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  • Postmodernism
    • Modernity
      • Dominated by industrial revolution = rapid social change (Urbanisation, Individualism and the rise of science as a universal truth)
      • Popper- Religion bases it's ideas on illogical myths and is a closed belief system as it can't be falsified.
      • Science bases it's theories in facts giving it more credibility as it can be falsified and they carry out experiments to update and improve previous hypothesis.
    • Postmodernity
      • Dismiss the idea that anything can have the universal truth- all knowledge is relative (all ideas are correct)
      • See the Grand Meta Narratives (e.g. Marxism, functionalism) as dead as people no pick 'n' mix between religious beliefs to fit with their lifestyle.
      • Science contributes to a risk society- Beck says these threats are man-made (Global warming, terrorism or nuclear war)
      • Postmodern world is characterised by fragmentation, endless choice and spontaneity.
      • Mass media- it shows us lifestyles, cultures and beliefs from around the world so we can buy into them or elements of them if we choose.
    • Bauman- Spiritual supermarket
      • Society is about endless choice and pick 'n' mix as people are consumers and buy every aspect of our identity including religion.
      • Religious Pluralism- over 170 religions in the UK- we have a wide range of choice - there is no longer any dominate faiths.
    • Lyon- Jesus in Disneyland
      • Religion hasn't declined just changed- traditional religions are being taught in non-traditional ways e.g Harvest Crusades.
      • These changes are because of:
        • Globalisation: increased constructiveness = increased flow of information/ideas- media and technology provides endless images and people have instantaneous access to information.
        • Disembedded Ideas- The media lift out religious ideas from their original context and moves them to different time and space. E.g. Church TV brings church allows people to experience faith in their homes.
    • Davie- Belief without belonging
      • Many express their belief in God without going to church. A change in attitudes- people see going to church as a choice not an obligation
      • Only 6%go to church but a significant number of others say they are religious.
    • Lyotard- Post Christian society
      • Today people are less accepting of the idea that one form of knowledge could have the absolute truth.
      • People refuse the authority of the church and it explains why people don't commit to one religion and instead buy into multiple.
    • Evaluation
      • Feminists
        • E.g. Saudi Arabia- women are tied to Islam and can't shop around for their ideal religion.
        • Religion is patriarchal- In some societies women don't have freedom to choose or shape their identity.
      • Functionalists
        • Parsons- Too much choice undermines social meaning of religion.
        • Religion unites people and there is little evidence of pick 'n' mix mentality.
        • Collective Worship is functionally useful- it gives people an identity and a sense of belonging.
      • Interpretivists
        • The 10 Commandments have significance to many people.
        • They argue that collective worship isn't necessary.
      • Marxists
        • Teaching religion in alternative ways undermines the role of religion as a opium of the masses.


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