The functionalist view of religion

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  • The functionalist view of religion
    • Durkhiem
      • Totemism
        • a spiritual belief system among the aborigine people of Arunta that treat the totem as sacred
          • function of religion
            • remind people of their dependence, duties and obligations
            • strengthen collective conscience and social solidarity
            • intergration (sense of belonging)
        • totem- an animal/ plant viewed as sacred that is a symbolic representation of the clan
        • simplest form of religion
      • Wesley- not accurate, shared totem
      • not representative of large scale societies. no single shared value system
    • parsons
      • individual: mechanism of adjustment. society: social control
      • crisis 1- hit with events they cannot foresee
      • crisis 2- uncertainty
      • mechanism of adjustment- provides explanation to people during crisis and meaning and gets them back on track
      • relevant today, not in non  western
    • malinowski
      • trobiand islands
      • task is difficult, outcome important: ease tension, social solidarity
        • group: social solidarity
      • time of crises: psychological comfort, explanation
        • individual: psychologyical comfort
      • lagoon fishing: safe. ocean fishing: dangerous
      • comfort relevant today, not ethnocentric
    • Robert bellah
      • civil religin
        • functional alternative to tradition, we have it without knowing, exsists in many societies, important
        • civic pride, worship way of life, unites and intergrates people
        • Uk- symbols- poppies, big ben. ceremonies- diamond jubilee, weddings. heroes- Churchill quenn
          • shows how multi faith societies can still have over arching belef system shared by all, binds peoples
          • too inclusive, not a belief in the supernatural
        • USA- thanksgiving, the flag, independence day
    • society becoming secular and mulit faith


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