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Social Constructionist: meaning of religion to individuals and how members of society define religion.
Impossible to generalise the nature of religion.
Substantive: defines religion as a belief in God, or Supernatural.
They are exclusive.
Weber "belief in a superior or supernatural power that is above nature and cannot be explained…

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Civil Religion: Bellah (1970) notes that religion unifies society, even a multi-faith society. Civil religion is a belief
system that attaches sacred qualities to society. Bellah argues that civil religion integrates society in a way that
individuals religions cannot. In American civil religion is a faith in the American way…

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Abercrombie and Turner: point out that in pre-capitalist society, Christianity had little impact on the subject class,
despite it being a major element in ruling class ideology.
Feminists would argue that the main source of oppression in religion is for women.

Religious organisations: are mainly male dominated males have a…

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Evaluation: Woodhead criticises for ignoring the `religious feminism'.
Criticised for ignoring the changes in the position of women in religion today, for example women can become priests
and bishops.
Marxist would criticise feminists for focusing too much on the oppression of women rather than the poor.
Functionalist would argue that…

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The protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism: Weber demonstrates that religion can contribute to social change,
using the example of the Calvinists protestant ethic that drove capitalism. Calvinists are a group of Catholics who
follow what is known as the protestant ethic working hard but shunning all luxuries.

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The American Civil Rights Movement: Bruce describes the struggle of the black civil rights movement of the 1950s as
an example of religiously motivated social change. The civil rights movement began in 1955 when Rosa Parks refused
to sit in the black segregated place on a bus. This led to…

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Secularisation trends: Church attendance has fallen from 40% in the mid 19thcentury to 10-15% by the 1960s and
6.3% in 2005.
An increase in the average age of churchgoers.
Fewer marriages, in 2006 the proportion of wedding was only a third, compared to 3/5 in 1971.
Fewer baptisms fell from…

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Structural differentiation: Parson defines structural differentiation as the process of specialisations that occurs with
the development of industrial society. Separate specialised institution to carry out the functions that were previously
performed by one single institution.
Parsons believed that structural differentiation has led to a `disengagement of religion'. Religion dominated

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Berger argues that this creates a crisis of credibility for all religions because alternatives erode the certainties that
traditional religions claim. Religious views become relative, rather than absolute truth. This creates the possibility of
opting out of religion all together.
However, Beckford argues that it is not inevitable that people…


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