Key Terms

Key terms with definitions

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  • Created on: 27-11-11 15:20
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Unit 3:-
Sociology key terms:
Animism: Belief in ghosts or spirits
Enlightenment: period associated with the 18th century when reason became to be
seen as a guiding principle
Functional definition of religion: definitions that focus on the role religion plays on
society and individuals
Ideology: set of ideas that legitimate the power of a particular group
Monotheistic: religion based around the worship of one God
Polytheistic: religion based around the worship of many God's
Polytheistic definition of religion: definitions of religion that have a list of possible
Sacred canopy: Berger's term for beliefs that give meaning to the world
Substantive definitions of religion: those that attempt to explain what religion
actually is
Theistic: religions that believe in higher controlling powers
Totem: objects such as plants or animals that are believed to have supernatural
Anomie: a state of confusion and normlessness
Civil religion: events or activities that involve ritualistic patterns and generate the
collective sentiments usually associated with establishing religions
Collective conscience: beliefs, values and moral attitudes shared by members of a
society that are essential to the social order
Feudal period: medieval period when wealth in society was based on land ownership
Fundamental religions: belief system that argues the need to subscribe or return to
traditional values and practices
Ideological apparatus: agencies that transmit ruling-class ideology to persuade
groups that inequality is normal.

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Landed class: wealthy, land owning aristocracy
Nationalism: patriotic feeling toward nation, belief that it is better than others
Profane: ordinary, unreligious aspects of life
Rites of passage: a ceremony or events that mark an important change in a person's
Rites: customary religious practises e.g. baptism
Totemism: a primitive religion involving worship object thought to be sacred.…read more

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Crystals: belief in the healing power of semiprecious stones
Cult apologists: non-cult members who are religiously tolerate and challenge the
misinterpretation of cult practise common in wider society
Cultic or holistic milieu: a range of activities involving the mind, body and spirit, such
as yoga, tai chi and self discovery.
Grand narrative: belief system, such as religion or science, that claims to explain the
world.…read more

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Cultural hybridity: to mix and match different cultural influences
Rastafarianism: they worship Halie Selassie, former emperor of Ethiopia, considering
him to be the Messiah. They believe that black people are reincarnations of the
Israelites and have been persecuted by the whites as punishment for their sins.…read more


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