- Created by: Tiziana Di Placido
- Created on: 07-10-18 17:34
Theoretical debates with regards to the functions of religion tend to focus on wether it acts as a force for social change or maintains social stability. Funtionalists have a structual view of society and believe that religion is a vital institutuion that reinforces social order. They believe that religion functions to provide stability to society and is therefore a conservative force, as it tends to maintain society as it is, rather than encouraing social change.
The sacred and the profane:
Durkheim (1915) believed that the main purpose of religion was to clearly differentiate between things that were sacred or profane in our society.
-Sacred: things that are special because they are the product of a higher being or supernatural power. Consquently they inspire, invoke fear, have power and are associated with rules and taboos. For example buildings such as churhes and temples are sacred.
-Profane: things that are ordinary, average, and have no special meaning or purpose. For example, buildings such as offices are profane.
Through his study of the Austrailian Aborigines, Durkheim (1915) claimed that many religions are based on totemism. To a community, their chosen sacred symbol represents the higher…