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Definitions of religion:

Substantive ­ exclusive, belief in supernatural e.g. God or holy texts.
Functional ­ what religion does for individual/society, inclusive.
Social constructionist ­ How people define religion/definitions change, inclusive, Interpretivist.

Functionalist theories of religion:

Society as a system of interrelated parts with needs met by institutions e.g. religion,…

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Marxist theories of religion:

Society = two classes e.g. Bourgeoisie and Proletariat (working class) religion dividing society.

Religion as ideology:

Religion as a justification of inequality and suffering.
Religion distorts perceptions of reality to benefit ruling class.
Creates false consciousness therefore preventing revolution.
Makes ruling class's position in society look…

Page 3

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Topic two: Religion and social change:

Religion = traditional, conserves things as they are, upholds traditional beliefs about society.

Religion's conservative beliefs:

Religions = opposing changes allowing freedom e.g. Catholic church opposing abortion, divorce, gat
marriage and upholding traditional nuclear family values.

Religion's conservative functions:

Religion and Consensus: Functionalists maintains…

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Religion and Social Protest:

Bruce: The American Civil Rights Movement:

Churches provide support/sanctuary/unite members through rituals.
Ideological resource: provided beliefs/practices that protestors use as support.
Acting as honest broker: church used for negotiation in conflict as respected by both sides.
Taking the moral high ground: double standards of white clergy…

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Topic three: Secularisation:

Secularisation in Britain:

1851 census = 40% church attendance 19th century as golden age for religion.
Church attendance declined, average age of attendees increase greater religious diversity.
Wilson Western societies = long term secularisation secularisation as religious beliefs and
institutions losing social influence.

Church attendance today:


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Spiritual revolution:

Traditional Christianity taken over by new age spirituality e.g. emphasis on personal
development/exploring inner self.
Traditional churches sought duty and obedience Evangelical churches combine this with healing
and rebirth.

Bruce: Cultural defence and transition:

Cultural defence religion as focal point for defence of identity against external force e.g.…

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Topic four: Religion, renewal and choice:

Postmodernity and religion:

Davie: Believing without belonging:

Religion becoming privatised people believing in homes not going to church.

Davie: Vicarious religion (Clergy practising religion on behalf of larger community):

25% going to church but 80% using it for rituals/rites.
Science and religion coexist together…

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Competition leads to improvements, churches want to appear attractive to gain members.


Statistics = diversity causes decline in belief.
Bruce: Secularisation theory misunderstood e.g. only claims that religion is in decline.
Inglehart: High level of religiosity in Catholic countries.

Norris and Inglehart: Existential security theory (feeling that survival secure…

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Giddens: Fundamentalism and Cosmopolitanism:

Fundamentalisms traditionalist = seek to return basics of their faith e.g. literal truths of sacred
texts/believe theirs is the only true view of the world.
Detest modernity but use it to spread ideas e.g. use of internet = growth through globalisation.
Cosmopolitanism Being tolerant of the…

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Troeltsch: Churches and Sects:

Church large organisations, hierarchy of leaders, universal, believe in a monopoly of religious
Sects small organisations, led by one leader, exclusive and hostile of wider society, high
commitment, believe they have monopoly of religious truth.

Neibuhr: Denominations and Cults:

Denominations In between churches/sects, less exclusive…


Thomas Ling


Is this on the current Spec 2017 or old spec?

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