Undertanding the Functionalist view on religion.


The work of Malinowski (1948) and Robert Bellah (1970) can help to develop your understanding of the functionalist view of religion.

Psychological Functions:

In addition to the other functions that religion provides for society, Malinowski (1926) claims that religion also provides society with Psychological functions. He claims that religion can help people overcome life-crises. It acheives this by creating 'rites of passage', such as funerals, to help its beleivers to deal with the stress, anxiey and greif that they are experiencing so taht they can return to normality as soon as possible. By minimising the level of disruption caused by significant life events, religion acts as a vital source


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