Beliefs in society overview

  • Created by: Amy
  • Created on: 09-06-14 21:08
Describe a substantive definition.
Focuses on the content of the belief. Weber: religion is a belief in a superior or supernatural power, that can't be explained scientifically. Exclusive and has to include a belief in a God.
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Outline the main points of the functionalist perspective on religion.
Religion provides the function of maintaining value consensus, order and solidarity.
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Who talks about civil religion?
Bellah: "a belief system that attaches sacred qualities to the country itself" E.g. America
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Outline the main points of the Marxist perspective on religion.
Religion is an ideology used to justify the suffering of the working class as 'God-given' and they'll be rewarded in the afterlife. Lenin: "spiritual gin".
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How do Marxists define alienation?
Alienation: "becoming separated from or losing control over something that you created". The working class are alienated because they don't own what they produce.
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Outline the main points of the Feminist perspective on religion.
Religious institutions are patriarchal. They reflect and perpetuate gender inequality. Religion justifies women's subordination.
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What does Woodhead say about religious feminism?
Not all religions are patriarchal - some women use religion to gain respect and status. For example, Evangelical Christianity where men must respect women.
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In what two ways is religion a conservative force?
1. Defends traditions, institutions and old moral views. 2. preserves/conserves things as they are - maintains the status quo.
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Give an example of religion as being a force for change.
Calvinism helped to bring about the emergence of capitalism in Northern Europe.
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Outline Calvinist beliefs.
Predestination. Divine transcendence. Ascetism. Vocation/calling to serve God.
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Outline one criticism of Weber's 'religion as a force for change'.
Kautsky: Weber overestimates ideas and underestimates economic factors. Capitalism came before Calvinism.
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Who wrote about religion and social protest?
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What two case studies did Bruce compare in religion and social protest?
American Civil rights movement and The New Christian Right
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Why hasn't the New Christian Right been successful?
Bruce: NCR have never had more than 15% of the population supporting them. Also, democratic values means people accept the legalisation of homosexuality etc.
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Outline the liberation theology.
A movement that emerged in the Catholic Church in Latin America in the 1960's when trying to overthrow the military dictatorship.
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What did Maduro say about about liberation theology?
Maduro: Liberation theology shows that religion can be a revolutionary force.
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Outline a millenarian movement.
The desire to change things to bring about the kingdom of God on Earth. Worsley: the total and imminent transformation of this world by super-natural means.
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Define "hegemony".
Hegemony: ideological ruling of society
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What two groups of people did Billings do a case study on, in relation to religion and class conflict?
Miners and Textile workers.
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What did Billings find?
Miners were more militant when struggling for better conditions and benefited from the leadership of organic intellectuals.
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Define secularisation.
The decline of religion in society.
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What are the five explanations of secularisation?
Rationalisation, structural differentiation, social and cultural diversity, religious diversity and cultural defence/transition.
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Outline rationalisation.
Where rational ways of thinking replace religion ones
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Outline structural differentiation.
Parsons: The process where specialised institutions develop to carry out the functions that were previously carried out by a single institution. E.g. the state taking over the churches functions
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Outline social and cultural diversity.
Wilson: local communities shared religion and expressed beliefs but industrialisation destroyed this and therefore destroyed religions base.
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Outline religious diversity.
More religions present now than there once was. This means that people are either changing religion, or questioning their own religion's monopoly of truth with other values from different religions.
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Who found a trend towards religious diversity?
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Outline cultural defence.
Where religion provides a focus for the defence of a national or ethnic group identity in a struggle against an external force.
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Outline cultural transition.
Provides a shared community for ethnic groups living in a different country or culture.
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Why might cultural defence/transition aid secularisation?
Defence: once the threat had left church attendance declined, it wasn't for religious belief, just for a focus. Transition: once people are socialised they may move away from religion.
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Outline the holistic milieu.
Spirituality and the New age.
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What did Heelas and Woodhead find in their study of Kendal?
More people take part in the congregational domain than the holistic milieu but it was declining, and milieu increasing. Evangelical churches were more successful than traditional.
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What cause did Heelas and Woodhead attach to their findings?
New age spirituality has come from a shift towards exploring your inner self which has led to the decline in old religions. Evangelical churches were more popular because of a focus on spiritual healing.
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What's an evaluative comment of this?
Doesn't mean a spiritual revolution has taken place as the holistic milieu hasn't over taken the decline of the congregational domain.
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What are the three explanations for secularisation in America?
Declining church attendance, secularisation from within and religious diversity and relativism
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What do postmodernists say about religion and secularisation?
Reject secularisation, society is changing and so is religion.
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What did Davie say about religion?
Believing without belonging: people can still be religious without attending church.
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What is a criticism of Davie?
Surveys showed that both attendance and belief were declining. If Davie were correct then belief should be higher.
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Who is associated with spiritual shopping?
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What are the two religious types that Hervieu-Leger described?
Pilgrims: an individual path in search of self discovery. Convents: people who join religious groups for a sense of belonging to recreate a sense of community.
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Who was responsible for "Jesus in Disneyland"?
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What did Lyon find?
Globalisation, increased media importance and consumerism are changing the nature of religion.
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Define the relocation of religion.
Increased movement of religious ideas over national boundaries.
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Define religious consumerism.
Constructing ideas through what we consume. For example, spiritual shopping allows us to fit religion around us and to make our own ideas and beliefs.
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What does Bruce criticise religious consumerism for?
Consumerist religion is a weak religion and so is rising evidence for secularisation.
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Who outlined religious market theory?
Stark and Bainbridge
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According to religious market theory, why is religion attractive?
Because it promises supernatural compensation when real rewards are unobtainable.
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What's the difference between America and Europe in terms of religious market theory?
America: religion has declined or increased in response to demand. Europe: Religious monopoly has led to a lack of choice of new religions, leading to decline.
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Who's responsible for existential security theory?
Norris and Inglehart
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Define existential security.
The feeling that survival is secure enough that it can be taken for granted.
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According to EST, why do poor people stay religious?
Religion meets a need for security and so communities with high insecurity have higher attendance.
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How does this relate to secularisation?
Countries in Europe with a welfare state means society is becoming more equal and secure, so secularisation is high. America doesn't allow for a welfare state and so poor people remain religious.
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Who supported this claim?
Gill et al: the more a country spends on welfare, the less religious it becomes.
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What's a criticism of existential security theory?
Doesn't take into account positive reasons people have religious participation.
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What does development do to religion?
Undermines religion BUT religion may also contribute to development. E.g. protestant ethic brought about modern capitalisation (Weber)
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Define fundamentalist.
Traditionalists who want the fundamental forms of their faith to return with an unquestioning belief in the holy texts. Intolerant of others views as they alone possess the truth
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Who is associated with fundamentalism?
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How is fundamentalism a reaction to globalisation?
Globalisation undermines the traditional norms of the religion. E.g. gender roles.
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What is fundamentalism contrasted with?
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Define cosmopolitanism.
Sees lifestyle as a personal choice, rather than dictated by religious authority. Emphasises the pursuit of personal meaning and self-improvement rather than obedience to authority.
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Define monotheism.
Only one God in a religion.
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Is fundamentalism confined to monotheistic religion or polytheistic?
Monotheistic - Bruce.
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What are the two causes of fundamentalism?
Reaction to change within society - usually in the west. Reaction to changes being imposed on them by external forces - usually third world.
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Who's associated with the 'clash of civilisations'?
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Who criticises Huntington's theory?
Jackson: Huntington's work is an example of orientalism - a western ideology that stereotypes eastern nations and people to be untrustworthy.
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Who's associated with Churches and sects?
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Define a church.
Large, many members, few demands on members, bureaucratic hierarchy, monopoly of the truth, often linked to the state.
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Define a sect.
Small, exclusive, demands high commitment, hostile to wider society, often led by a charismatic leader, recruits from the poor and oppressed, monopoly of truth.
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Define a denomination.
Midway between a church and a sect. Less exclusive, accept society's values, minor restrictions on members, tolerant of other religions.
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Define a cult.
Loosely organised individualistic, small, lose-knit groups without a sharply defined belief system.
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What are the three types of NRMs?
World rejecting, world accommodating and world affirming.
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Define a world-rejecting NRM.
Highly critical of outside world, clear notion of God, expect radical change, live communally with little contact to the outside world.
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Define a world-accommodating NRM.
Breakaway from existing churches, neither reject or accept the world, focus on religious matters.
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Define a world-affirming NRM.
accept the world as it is, believe in spirituality and the supernatural, followers are more like customers.
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Stark and Bainbridge divided cults into what three groups?
Audience cult, client cult, cultic movements.
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What three factors are responsible for the growth of religious movements?
Marginality, relative deprivation, social change and NRMs.
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In what four ways did Heelas say the new age was linked to modernity?
A source of identity, consumer culture, rapid social change, decline of organised religion.
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Why are women more likely to be religious?
Gender roles - Miller and Hoffman. Closer proximity to birth and death and so more concerned with ultimate questions - Davie. Religion appeals to women's wish for autonomy - Brown.
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What would feminists criticise this?
Implied inferiority. Gender roles are not biological predispositions but socially constructed.
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Why does the importance of religion differ between ethnicities?
Country of origin, cultural defence, cultural transition.
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Why do more elderly people go to church?
Grown up with religion and so it has an importance in their life, in comparison to this generation where it hasn't had as much of an effect.
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How can this be linked to secularisation?
The more generations that don't grow up with religion will make the further decline in church attendance as people don't see it as a prominent part of their life.
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Who sees science as an open belief system?
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Who is associated with the CUDOS norms?
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Is religion an open or closed belief system?
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What's the difference between a closed system and an open system?
Closed systems have 'get out' clauses that prevent it from being disproved.
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Who's associated with the paradigm?
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What do interpretivists argue about science?
That it's socially constructed. A scientific fact is simply a shared socially constructed belief (Woolgar).
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What do Marxists and feminists say about science?
Science serves the interests of the dominant group. Marxists: the ruling class. Feminists: patriarchy.
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Why does Lyotard reject science's claim of the truth?
He claims it's a meta-narrative used to dominate people.
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Define ideology.
A belief system or world set of views. - using the term ideology to refer to a belief system implies that you think it's morally/factually wrong.
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Why can't the working class overthrow the ruling class in a Marxist theory?
Because they're unaware of their exploitation - class consciousness.
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How does hegemony legitimate capitalism?
By preventing class consciousness, so they working class can't revolt against the ruling class.
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What's a criticism of Marxism and ideology?
It may not be ideology that prevents the working classing revolution but the threat of economical factors, such as job loss.
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Outline feminism and ideology.
Gender inequality is legitimated by patriarchal ideology. Religious beliefs often define women as inferior.
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What's a criticism of feminism and ideology?
Not all religions subordinate women; before the monotheistic patriarchal religions, matriarchal religions were common.
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Overall, what is a problem with defining religion?
Individual difference/subjectivity - it depends on your personal experiences with religion as to how you define it.
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In your opinion, is religion declining?
(It's always good to put your opinion at the end of an essay so the examiners know you haven't just learnt it off a sheet).
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


Outline the main points of the functionalist perspective on religion.


Religion provides the function of maintaining value consensus, order and solidarity.

Card 3


Who talks about civil religion?


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


Outline the main points of the Marxist perspective on religion.


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


How do Marxists define alienation?


Preview of the front of card 5
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