Ways in which functionalists see religion meeting the needs of society and/or individuals

Answer to the question below...9 marker

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  • Created on: 30-04-12 06:50
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Identify and briefly explain some of the ways in which functionalists see religion
meeting the needs of society and/or individuals. (9 marks)
The functionalists view religion as another part of society which is needed in order for it to
function. It reinforces our cultural values and norms in society by enforcing itself into our
socialisation process.
Comte, the founding father of functionalism argued that simple religions used to be based
upon the idea of animism where as now society has become modern, scientific and secular.
Religion has several functions in which it carries out for society. Socialisation, integration
and preventing anomie are included in this. Religion can help the process of socialisation by
reinforcing its values through the family and education. It needs to prevent anomie
(normlessness) as without it society would cease to exist.
Malinowski argued that it is not society that religion wants to control. It is made up so that
we can deal with our emotional stress, so we use it at times of crisis e.g. death. Religion
comforts us and will keep society stable. Religion is able to integrate us into society
through its contributions to education i.e Sunday school.
Total marks scored: 3+1+3 = 7

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