All the Thinkers Needed for Beliefs in Society

All the thinkers needed and ao2 points also 

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Weber defines religion in terms of the religious belief in supernatural power or superior power
that is above nature and cannot be explained scientifically. Substantive definitions are exclusive-
so there is a clear line between religious beliefs and non-religious beliefs. Some sociologists argue
that this definition is Western bias this is because religions such as Buddhism do not adopt the
western ideology of god.
Durkheim & Yinger:
Durkheim and Yinger define religion in terms of the contribution it makes to society such as social
integration also the functions it performs to individuals. Functional definitions are inclusive so as
long as they play a function they are seen as a religion. But many sociologists argue just because
an institution play a part in integrating individuals into groups it does not make it religion. For
example collective chanting at a football match may make individuals feel part of a group i.e. are
integrating but it is not a religion.
Aldridge takes an interpretivist approach on defining religion. He argues the term religion is a
social construction where the definition has been constructed, challenged and fought over. For
example, some governments are trying to ban the `religion' scientology. This shows that definition
of religion can be influenced by those in power. However if religion is social construction then it
will become impossible to define religion.
Functionalist theories of religion
Durkheim argues that religion is a social institution that plays a part in creating and maintaining
social order, value consensus and social solidarity. Durkheim did a study on aboriginal tribes and
found that they treated most things as ordinary known as profane but some things were set apart
as forbidden and inspire awe known as sacred. Durkheim argued these special things represent
something of great power and in his view this can only be society. Thus worshipping these things
is worshipping society, even if these tribes weren't aware of it. Also another function of religion is
collective conscience. This where shared norms and values makes social order possible.
Performing shared religious rituals reinforces collective conscience and maintains social
integration. This is because the individuals that perform the rituals are bound together in a single
moral community, to which they owe their loyalty to. Postmodernist Mestervoic argues that it
cannot be applied to contemporary society because of increase diversity which has lead to the
fragmentation of collective conscience so there is no longer a shared value system for religion to
Malinowski argues that religion performs a social function by providing psychological support
during times of emotional stress that might otherwise threaten social life. Such as life crisis like

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Neglects the negative aspects of
religion such as oppression of women and poor.
Parsons argues that religion sacralises norms and values, meaning individuals accept society's
goals as their own. Religion also is the primary source of meaning for people in society. It provides
answers to those unanswered questions about the world and humanity. Parsons ignores that
religion can be the sources of conflict and division.…read more

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El Saadawi:
El Saadawi argues religion is not the direct cause of women subordination rather that it's
the way men have reinterpreted and favoured certain bits of the sacred texts which have
lead to patriarchy. El Saadawi ignores the fact that stories in religious sacred texts often
reflect anti-female stereotypes. Such as Eve who caused humanity's fall from grace.
Woodhead criticises feminists and argues that women use religion to gain greater freedom
and respect.…read more

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Marxism, religion and change
Engels argues that religion is a dual character. It can inhibit social change by disguising
inequality for example its an opium which dull the pain of oppression so working class do
not feel the pain of their suffering but it can also challenge the status quo and encourage
social change. For example Maudro argues that the liberation theology is an example of this.…read more

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Explanations of secularisation
Weber argues that people now have rational ways of thinking and acting these have
replaces the religious ones. This is known as rationalisation. Rationalisation has led to the
disenchantment of religion where the magic and mystery of the world had been unveiled
and the natural order of the world has been revealed through science. The rationalisation
process has allowed science to advance and thrive giving more control of nature which in
turns is undermining the religious worldview.…read more

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Bruce criticises secularisation theory and found two counter trends that go against the
secularisation theory. Cultural defence is where religion provides a focal point for the
defence of nation, ethnic etc. from external threat. Also cultural transition provides support
and a sense of community for ethnic groups such as migrants. However some sociologists
argue that these examples to not disprove secularisation but states the function religion
performs for an individual.…read more

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Religion becomes de-institutionalised
where its sings and images become detached from their religious institution, floating and
multiplying on TV and in cyber-space, its become a cultural resource that individuals can
adapt for their own purpose. Also religion has relocated to the sphere of consumption.
People may have cease to belong to religious organisations but have not abandoned
religion. They have become religious consumers making conscience choices about which
elements of religion they find useful.…read more

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Globalisation has led to the rapid economic development in India, it has created a wealthy
new middle class who are educated and working in industries such a IT and biotechnology.
These groups according to secularisation theory are generally the least religious due to
rationalisation. But Nanda has found that these people are actually more religious.…read more

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Huntington identifies seven civilisations these include Western, Latin and Islamic
civilisations. These civilisations have religious differences that have created a new set of
hostile us and them relationships. This has led to global conflicts such as the terrorist attacks
in 9/11 in U.S. However Casonova argues that's Huntington ignores conflicts within
civilisations such as Sunni and Shiah muslims.
Types of Religious Organisations
Trolestch distinguishes between a church and a sect.…read more

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Weber argues that those people that are marginalised in society are more likely to join sects. The
marginalisation comes in different forms such as income marginalisation or working class
marginalisation etc. Sects offer its members theodicy of disprivilege where the sect provides
religious explanations for their situations and their suffering is awarded in the after life. However
world rejecting new religious movements that are sect like have recruited young affluent groups
such as the Moonies.…read more


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