Sociology A2 Beliefs in Society - Topic 6: Organisations, movements and members

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Topic 6: Organisations, movements and members
Types of religious organisation
Troeltsch
Church
Large organisations
complicated hierarchy
Universalistic
Believe they have a monopoly of religious truth
Sect
Small organisations
Led by a characteristic leader
Highly exclusive and hostile of wider society
Expect high levels of commitment
Believe they have a monopoly of religious truth
Neibuhr
Denominations
Halfway between churches and sects
Membership is less exclusive than a sect but they don't appeal to everyone
Broadly accept societies values
Tolerant of other organisations
Don't claim monopoly of the truth
Cults
Highly individualistic
Loose knit and small group around a shared theme or interest
Led by `therapists' who claim to have special knowledge
Tolerant of other organisations and beleifs
Don't demand strong commitment
World affirming: Claim to improve life in this world
Wallis
New religious movements (NRMs)
since the 1960s there has been an increase in the number of NRMs
attempted to classify them based on their relationship with the outside world

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Topic 6: Organisations, movements and members
World ­ rejecting NRMs
Clearly religious with a clear belief in god
Highly critical of the outside world
Members must break away from their former life
Restricted contact with the outside world
Often accused of brainwashing members
Have conservative moral views
World ­ accommodating NRMs
Breakaways from existing churches or denominations
Neither accept or reject the world
Focus on religious rather than worldly matter
Members lead conventional lives
World ­ affirming NRMs
Lack some conventional features of religion
Not…read more

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Topic 6: Organisations, movements and members
Stark and Bainbridge
Relative deprivation
Relative deprivation: How deprived someone feels in relation to those around them
Middle class people may feel spiritually deprived especially in modern consumerist society so
they turn to sects to counter this and gain a sense of community
It is the relatively deprived who break away from churches.…read more

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Topic 6: Organisations, movements and members
Sects are short lived and there are several reasons for this:
The second generation
Children who are born into the sect lack the commitment and the fervour of their parents who
made the conscious decision
The protestant ethic effect
Sects that practice asceticism tend to become prosperous and upwardly mobile.…read more

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Topic 6: Organisations, movements and members
Globalisation will make it harder for sects to stay apart
Heelas
Two common themes that characterise the new age
Self-spirituality: New agers have turned away from the traditional external religions and instead
look inside themselves
Detraditionalisation: The new age rejects the spiritual authority of external traditional sources
and instead values personal experiences and believe that we can discover the truth for
ourselves by looking inwards
Drane
Postmodernity and the New Age
Appeal of new age is part of a…read more

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Topic 6: Organisations, movements and members
Religiosity and social groups
Gender
High positions in most religions are male
Women participate more in relaigion
Miller and Hoffman
Socialisation and Gender role
Women are more religious as they have been socilaised to be passive and obedient
Women are more likely to half part time careers so they can organise their time for religious
activities
Women are closer to birth and death and therefore are more concerned with unanswerable
questions
Bruce
Women and the new age
Women are…read more

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Topic 6: Organisations, movements and members
Bruce
Cultural defence
Religion offers support and a sense of cultural identity.…read more

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