Topic 2 - Religion and Social Change

Condesned notes

HideShow resource information
Preview of Topic 2 - Religion and Social Change

First 522 words of the document:

Religion as a conservative force:
Often have conservative beliefs about moral issues and uphold traditional family values.
Functionalism - religion helps maintain social stability: promotes social solidarity via value consensus
Marxism - religion legitimates inequality, prevents revolution, maintaining capitalism
Feminism - religion legitimates patriarchal power and maintains women's subordination in the family and
Calvinist beliefs helped the emergence of modern capitalism
Predestination: God has decided who will be saved - cannot be changed
Divine transcendence: no-one can know God's will
Ascetism: live a simple life; devote oneself to God
Vocation/Calling: work, prosper and reinvest
CRITICISED BY R.H.TAWNEY - technological change caused the birth of capitalism. Calvinist beliefs were
adopted by the bourgeoisie to legitimate their pursuit of economic gain
Religion and protest - Bruce:
American Civil Rights
Religiously inspired protest
Black clergy were backbone of the movement: giving support and moral legitimacy to activists
Religion was an ideological resource: it provided beliefs and practices that motivated and supported
protestors (for example, religious organisations took the moral high ground - black clergy pointed
out hypocrisy of white clergy who preached 'love thy neighbour', but supported racial segregation
The New Christian Right
Wanted to take America back to God (ban abortion, homosexuality etc)
Bruce argues they were unsuccessful because
1. Lacked major support
2. Campaigners couldn't co-operate, even if fighting same cause
3. Were met with strong opposition (e.g. People for the American Way)
To achieve success, beliefs and demands need to be consistent with those of wider society
Religious ideas can have relative autonomy (can be partly independent of the economic base of
Religion can have a dual character, thus can sometimes be a force for social change
Engels: religion can challenge the status quo
Bloch: religion can inspire protest and rebellion. It is an expression of the principle of hope - our dreams
of a better life that contain images of utopia.
Religious beliefs may create a vision of a better world, and if combined with effective political
leadership and organisation can bring about social change
Liberation theology:
Movement within the Catholic Church, 1960s, Latin America
Commitment to the poor and opposed military dictatorships
Emerged because of:
Deepening rural poverty and growth of slums
Human rights abuses following military takeovers
Growing commitment from Catholic priests to supporting poor, oppressed and human right
Pope John Paul II condemned Liberation Theology in 1980s - instructed priests to concentrate on
pastoral activities, not political struggle
Maduro: and argues that in the case of liberation theology, religious ideas radicalised the Catholic clergy
in defence of the oppressed. Liberation theology as an example of religiously inspired social change
Millenarian Movements:
Aspire to change things for the better and hope for a better life in the afterlife
Appeal to the poor as they promise immediate improvement

Other pages in this set

Page 2

Preview of page 2

Here's a taster:

Worsley: cargo cults sprung up to overturn the social injustice of being deprived of cargo
Gramsci: religion and hegemony:
Hegemony = ideology used by the r/c to maintain control
Italy 1920s+1930s - Conservative ideological power of Catholic Church helped with support for
Mussolini's fascist regime
Religion can challenge the r/c
Clergy may act as organic intellectuals
Educators, organisers and leaders - helping workers to see their real situations and support w/c
organisations such as trade unions…read more


No comments have yet been made

Similar Sociology resources:

See all Sociology resources »See all resources »