Topic 1 - Theories of Religion

Condensed notes.

HideShow resource information
Preview of Topic 1 - Theories of Religion

First 498 words of the document:

Durkheim:
Religion helps create and maintain value consensus, order and social solidarity
Collective conscience - shared norms, values, beliefs and knowledge needed to prevent societal
disintegration (represented in sacred symbols)
Shared rituals reinforce the collective conscience and create a sense of belonging
CRITICISED BY MESTROVIC - collective conscience has weakened due to society being increasingly diverse
Malinowski:
Religion promotes social solidarity through its 2 psychological functions
1. Where the outcome is important but uncontrollable and uncertain
Trobriand Islanders - Fishing in the lagoon was safe and predictable, but the Ocean was
dangerous and uncertain. Rituals helped to ensure a safe and successful expedition.
2. In times of life crises (e.g. Death - religion helps minimise disruption)
Parsons:
1. Religion creates and legitimates society's central values
Protestantism has sacralised core values of individualism, meritocracy and self discipline ­
promotes value consensus and thus social stability
2. Primary source of meaning
Religion provides answers to questions that may threaten the commitment to society's values (e.g.
­ why do the good suffer?)
CRITICISED FOR IGNORING RELIGION AS BEING A SOURCE OF CONFLICT
Bellah - Civil Religion:
Civil religion is a belief system that attaches scared qualities to society itself (e.g. ­ American civil religion
involves loyalty to the nation-state, expressed via rituals e.g. pledging allegiance to the flag)
CRITICISED FOR IGNORING RELIGION AS BEING A SOURCE OF CONFLICT
Althusser:
Religion is created and promoted by the r/c in order to pass on their dominant ideology to the w/c with a
false class consciousness
2 elements within the state to maintain ruling class power:
1. Repressive State Apparatus (RSA) - Maintain rule of the bourgeoisie by force or the threat of it (e.g. The
army)
2. Ideological State Apparatus (ISA) - Maintain rule of the bourgeoisie by controlling people's ideas, values
and beliefs (e.g. Religion)
Marx:
Religion helps legitimate and justify the suffering of poor people as inevitable and god given
Religion is the product of alienation - it arises out of suffering as a consolation for it
CRITICISED FOR IGNORING THE POSITIVE FUNCTIONS OF RELIGION - E.G PSYCHOLOGICAL ADJUSTMENT TO
MISFORTUNE
Feminists:
See religion as an instrument of domination and oppression
Evidence of patriarchy in...
Religious organisations - mainly male dominated. Armstrong - women's exclusion from the
priesthood is evidence of their marginalisation. However in 1992, CoE allowed women to be
ordained as priests
Places of worship - women's participation may be restricted. Holm - taboos such as menstruation
are polluting and devalue women in contemporary religion
CRITICISED BY WOODHEAD - Religion can be liberating for some women. For example for women in
Islam, the hijab allows women to escape the confines of the home and enter education and
employment

Comments

No comments have yet been made

Similar Sociology resources:

See all Sociology resources »See all resources »