Functionalist theory to religion

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Key ideas;

  • each institution performs certain functions to maintain the social system by meeting a need
  • societies most basic need is social order and solidarity
  • for durkheim the key feature of religions is a fundamental distinction between the sacred and the profane
    • the sacred are things set apart and forbidden, inspiring feeling of awe, fear and wonder with taboos and inhibitions
    • the profane are ordinary things with no special significance
  • durkheim argues that something creates powerful feelings in believers because they are symbols representing something of great power, and this thing can only be society
  • when people worship


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