religion and social change


WEBER: religion as a force for change

Calvinism helped to bring about major social change. spirit of capitalism- modern capitalism is based on the systematic, efficient rational pursuit for its own sake.

calvinist beliefs

predestination- predetermined which souls would be saved. Divine transcendence- they could not know whether they had been saved. Asceticism- abstinence, self-discipline and self-denial. vocation or calling- this-worldly asceticism. calvinists led an ascetic lifestyle shunning all luxury

Hinduism and Confucianism

failure of capitalism in China and India was due to a lack of religious beliefs like Calvinism. these lack the drive to systematically accumulate wealth.


overestimates the role of ideas.

technological changes caused the birth of capitalism

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religion and social protest

the American civil rights movement.

BRUCE civil rights movement is an example of religiously motivated social change. religion as an ideological resource. taking the moral high ground, channelling dissent, acting as an honest broker and mobilising public opinion.

the new Christian movement

aimed to take America back to God. failed movement for change.

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marxism, religion and change

marxists recognise that ideas can have relative autonomy. MARX sees religion as capable of humanising a world made inhumane by exploitation. ENGELS religion challenges the status quo and encourages social change.

ernist Bloch: the principle of hope-religion is an expression of the principle of hope- a better life. allows people to see what needs to be changed in the world.

liberation theology- emerged within the Catholic church. factors leading to liberation theology- deepening rural poverty, human rights abuses, commitment among priests. sets out to change society. CASANOVA- resists terror and bringing about democracy. religion as a revolutionary force that brings about change.pentecostal challenge- options for the poor for individuals millenarian movements- the creation of heaven on earth. promises immediate improvement

Gramsci: religion and hegemony- use of religion to maintain control. offers a vision of a better fairer world.

religion and class conflict- 

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