Functionalist theories of Religion- Durkheim

The sacred and the profane

  • key feature of religion was the distiction between the sacred and the profane.
  • sacred- forbidden/inspire feelings of awe,fear and wonder/surrrounded by taboos and prohibitions
  • profane- not special or significant/ordinary/mundane
  • religion involves rituals in relation to 'the sacred'. These rituals are are collective and perfomed in social groups.
  • 'the sacred' funtions to unite belivers into a single,moral community.
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  • Created by: chinwe
  • Created on: 04-12-14 23:55

The sacred and the profane

  • key feature of religion was the distiction between the sacred and the profane.
  • sacred- forbidden/inspire feelings of awe,fear and wonder/surrrounded by taboos and prohibitions
  • profane- not special or significant/ordinary/mundane
  • religion involves rituals in relation to 'the sacred'. These rituals are are collective and perfomed in social groups.
  • 'the sacred' funtions to unite belivers into a single,moral community.
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totemism

  • durkheim studied aboriginal societies, consitiong of clans
  • these clans came together and perfomed religios rituals
  • they worshiped a sacred totem- for exaple; a animalor plant,that symbolised their origins and identity
  • this reinforced solidarity
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the collective conscience

  • shared norms,values and bliefs in knowledge
  • shared religious rituals reinforced collective conscience and helped maintain social intergration.
  • reinforce the idea they are all part of a single moral community
  • for individual- they feel part of something great, feel mre strenthend and motivated to face lifes challenges.
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cogintive funtion

  • religion helps our ability to reason and think conceptually.
  • religon is the origin of the concepts( space,time,substance) we need for reasoning, understanding, and communicationg.
  • E.g- in the bible, describes God creating the world. This is were basic categories such as time,space and caustion were introduced.
  • religion is the origin of human thought, reason and science.
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