Functionalism (Beliefs in Society)

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  • Society is a system of interrelated parts or social institutions 
  • Society is an organism with basic needs that must be met in order to survive 
  • Each institution plays functions 
  • Basic needs= social order+ solidarity 

Durkheim (1915) 

  • Sacred and profane 
  • Key feature of religion was fundamental distinction between sacred and profane 
  • Sacred= set apart and forbidden. Inspire feelings of awe and fear 
  • Profane= no special significance. Ordinary and mundane. 
  • Religion is not a set of beliefs, involves rituals/practices in relation to the sacred 
  • Rituals are collective and performed by a social group
  • The sacred evokes powerful feelings as symbols…


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