2. Religion and social change

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  • Religion and social change
    • Religion as a conservative force
      • Religion's conservative beliefs
        • Many of these beliefs oppose changes that would allows individuals more freedom in personal and sexual matters
        • Ideas on divorce and  division of labour in the home
        • The woman used to have to vow to 'love, honour and OBEY'
      • Religion's conservative functions
        • Religion and consensus (functionalism- religion functions to maintain social stability)
        • Religion and capitalism (marxism- religion functions to continue the exploitation of the work force and domination of the rich)
        • Religion and patriarchy (feminism- religion functions to maintain the subordination of women in the family and wider society)
    • WEBER: religion as a force for change
      • Calvinist beliefs
        • Rationality
        • Predestination
        • Material success
        • Asceticism
        • Protestant work ethic
        • EVAL: chicken or egg? Why economic success? Why did people become Calvinist?
      • Hinduism and confucianism
        • Weber was not arguing that Calvinism was the only reason that Capitalism emerged but was just one of its causes
        • Weber also notes that in other some societies with higher economic development, capitalism did not emerge
        • Weber therefore recognises that in order for capitalism to emerge it values must be mirrored by society
      • WEBER: religion shapes society as shown by Calvinism which he says lead to the introduction of Capitalism in Western society
        • EVAL: MARX: religion is shaped by the economy
      • Weber's 'spirit of Capitalism' describes modern capitalism which he argues is based on systematic, efficient, rational pursuit of profit for its own sake
      • Weber said we all have different way of making sense of the world and answering difficult questions. These are called 'theodicies'
    • Religion and social protest
      • BRUCE is interested in the relationship between relationship and social changes and compares 2 examples of the role of religiously inspired movements in America
      • The American civil right movement
        • Lead largely by black clergy with MLK as the leader
        • Bruce argues that religion was an ideological resource and argues that religion is useful for promoting social change for 4 reasons:
          • Taking the moral high ground
          • Channeling dissent
          • Acting as an honest broker
          • Mobilising public opinion
        • Religion was successful in mobilising social change because it shared the values of wider society
      • The New Christian Right
        • Conservative, politically and morally controversial
        • Aimed to take America 'back to God' by making abortion, homosexuality and divorce illegal
        • Largely unsuccessful because they are relatively small, are very controversial and there is strong opposition from other groups
    • Marxism, religion and change
      • Marxists largely say that religion restricts change by keeping the w/c accepting of their exploitation however, some say it can promote social change
      • The dual character of religion
        • ENGELS: recogises the dual character of religion and argues that it has some relative autonomy meaning that it can be a force for change as well as a conservative forec
        • BLOCH: religion is an expression of 'the principle of hope' and as such has the ability to inspire rebellion
        • With the correct political leadership and organisation rebellion could lead to social change
        • GRAMSCI: the hegemony of the ruling class is not guaranteed and religion can help worker to gain true class consciousness
      • MADURO
        • Liberation theology: this was a radical movement that grew as a response to poverty. It was led by the catholic church and campaigned to improve the lives of the poor
      • WORSLEY
        • Millenarian movements: these movements expect some day of judgement and that only members of that faith will be saved. He studied the 'Cargo cults' who gained class-consciousness and protested
      • BILLINGS
        • Studied 2 w/c protestant communities (miners and textile worker). The miners were more successful because of better leadership, organisation and support

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