Sociology Religion Essay

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  • Religion creates social sloidarity and unity
  • Totemism (visualisation of belief)
  • Worshipping same thing - brings people together
  • C- Doesn't explain social change, does not focus on individual.


  • creates and legitimises society's values - creates consensus and agreement.
  • Can answer questions no one else can, prmary source of meaning.
  • Create stability from dtresses of day to day life.
  • C- (marxists) cover to hide oppression of working class in society.


  • civil religion, patriotism, Queens coronation - social solidarity.
  • promotes social unity.
  • American way of life - social sloidarity, share norms and values.
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  • Religion is an illusion to ease pain produced by exploitation and oppression.
  • Part of superstructure, justify and legitimises subordination of w/c and domination of m/c.
  • distortion of reality, form of ruling class ideology maintaining 'false class consiouness'.
  • Cover up divisions.
  • 'Opium of the people'- numbs the pain of oppression and exploitation.
  • C- Yinger, perform many different functions, good for society, help people cope.


  • 'Spiritual Gin' - confuses w/c, keeps them oppressed, religion soothes.
  • Stop w/c overthrowing captitalism.

Conservative force: r/c ideas shaped by and legitimising class inequalities. Status quo maintained and not questioned or challenged.
Caste System.

C- can provide genuine comfort, cannot just be dismissed as illusory.

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  • Can lead to revolutionary change.
  • Start as a response to exploitation and become sourse of resistance and change.
  • Early christian sects opposing Roman Rule = communist and socialist political movements.


  • Rejects traditional marxist views that cultural superstructure reflects infrastructure.
  • Beliefs can be as real and important as economic forces.
  • Hegemony in Catholic Church serves r/c, but religion doesn't inevitably play this role.


  • Religion has some independence from economic system.
  • liberation theology-Latin America Catholic clergy critical of oppressive regimes, part of popular struggle.
  • Catholic clergy part of anti-communist activity in Poland before abandonment of communism,
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  • Sacred texts- Gods are male (Bible; Eve created from Adams rib; Mary - a prositute and virgin.)
  • Most religious leaders are male, R.C - women cannot be priests. Women cannot be rabbis in orthodox Judaism.
  • Women socialised to be more passive, obedient and caring.
  • Women can't touch Qu'ran iv menstruating - polluted.
  • Jewish women cannot read scripture and must sit in balconies so don't distract men.
  • El Saadawi-(muslim radical fem) men interpreted religion in patriarchal way in the past, use religion as an abuse of power.
  • Daly- Christianity is a patriarchal myth.
  • Simone de Beauvoir- oppressive to women, compensate women for 2nd class status.
  • C- Woodhead- use religion to gain liberation. Veiling- symbolise resistance to oppression and reinforce cultural identiy. Choose to wear veil to escape confines of home and enter employment. Strong belief men should respect women, empowering them.
  • Stone- Old Testament Torah written and interpreted by mean and incorporates traditional biases against women. Women identified with body, instinct, nature, sin, childbearing and domesticity.
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