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RELIGION AS A CONSERVATIVE
FORCE
· Religion is seen as conservative in the sense of being
traditional, it upholds traditional beliefs about society
should be organised
· Functionalists seen religion as a conservative force as it
functions to main social stability and prevent society from
disintegrating
· Marx sees religion as a conservative ideology which
prevents social change by legitimating or disguising
exploitation
· Feminists see religion as an ideology that legitimates
patriarchal power and maintains women's subordination
ain the family and wider society…read more

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WEBER: RELIGION AS A FORCE FOR
CHANGE
· Religious beliefs of Calvinism helped to bring about major
social change
· Many past societies had capitalism in the sense of geed for
wealth
· Modern capitalism is unique because it is based on the
systematic, efficient rational purist of profit for its own sake
(the spirit of capitalism)…read more

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CALVINIST BELIEFS
Predestination
· God has predetermined which souls to save, this cannot be
changed.
Divine transcendence
· God is far beyond this world and no human could possibly
ever claim to know his will. This left the Calvinists to feel an
`unprecedented inner loneliness', combined with
predestination this leads to a `salvation panic'
Asceticism
· Refers to abstinence, self-discipline and self-denial ­ leading
a simple life
The idea of a vocation
· Calvinist idea of vocation meant constant, methodical work.
Their wealth performed a psychological function that allowed
them to cope with the salvation panic. Secondly, they
accumulated wealth which was reinvested into their business…read more

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HINDUISM AND CONFUCIANISM
· Weber was not arguing that Calvinist beliefs were the cause
of capitalism but simply one of the causes
· In places like ancient China and Indian, capitalism did not
take off
· This is because there was a lack of religious beliefs like
Calvinism which would have spurred the development
· Hinduism favoured the renunciation of the material world
and directed its followers towards the spiritual world
· Confucianism directed its followers towards the material
world but it was not ascetic…read more

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EVALUATION OF WEBER
Marshall: A lack of investment and skilled labour force
means capitalism cannot develop.
Kautsky: Weber underestimates the role of ideas and
underestimates economic factors in bringing capitalism
Tawney: Technological change not religious ideas caused
the birth of capitalism. The bourgeoisie adopted Calvinist
beliefs to legitimate their pursuit of economic gain
Capitalism did not develop in all countries which a high
population of Calvinists e.g. Scotland
Sombart: Calvinists was against greed and the pursuit of
money for its own sake
Some have suggested that slavery, colonialism and piracy
were more important than Calvinist beliefs in accumulating
the capital required for industrialization…read more

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