Beliefs in Society-Learning Table 3- Functionalism

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  • Created by: Heather
  • Created on: 20-09-15 16:45
What type of theory is functionalism and what does this suggest?
A consensus theory which suggests that people in society sahre the same norms and values
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According to functionalists, religion is an important agent of what?
Secondary socialisation,
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What do functionalists view as the two functions of religion in society?
1) As an integrative force 2) As a regulatory force
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What is the definition of an integrative force?
Helping people live harmoniously in society
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What is the definition of a regulatory force?
Helping back up laws e.g. not stealing,
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Which functionalist argued the role/function of religion is to act as a regulatory force?
Parsons,
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How is religion a regulatory force?
Each religion has a code of laws that 'must by obeyed' for a passageway to the afterlife. Religion also backs up important statutory laws on theft and murder to make sure society functions and social harmony is maintained,
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What is an example of regulatory forces in religion?
The commandement 'thou shall not commit adultery' which demands families stay together, therefore protecting the ideal family type,
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Give two sociologists who argued the role/function of religion is to act as an integrative force?
Durkheim and Malinowski
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What does Durkheim arugue religion creates and the definition?
collective consciousness-Shared norms, values, beliefs and knowledge that make social life and co-operation between individuals possible,
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What did Durkheim study?
The aboriginal Austrialians,
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Describe the religion/ worship there?
Durkheim found that members created sacred objects to be worshipped even though the object had no supernatural characterisitcs.
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What did Durkheim suggest was the role of these totems?
He suggested in worshipping these sacred totems allow individuals in society to gain an understanding of how sharing norms and values is important to create social harmony,
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Give some examples of totems?
Plants, animals and landscapes. An example is Ulura rock- The aboriginals find this sacred, almost godly and they petitioned to stop tourists from climbing on it,
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Therefore, what function do sacred symbols perform?
Sacred symbols perform the essential function of uniting believers into a single moral community,
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What did Durkheim conclude that the function of religion is?
To reinforce the importance of shared goals in society and aid individuals integration into a community,
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Give a modern day example of worship today based on Durkheim's view on the role of religion?
E.g. David Beckham when he is playing for England people are worshipping the things he represents to us. The fact that hes fit, healthy and devoted to his family and puts large emphasis on earning money- Important values,
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Where did Malinowski conduct his studies and what did he find about the role/function of religion in a small tribe?
In the Trobriand Islands and he found that it was to provide support in times of crisis.
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What did Malinowski conclude that religion's role was?
To make sure people don't lose sight of the shared goals that make social harmony possible when challenging life events occur. It preserves social order at time of individual and social upheavel,
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What is an example of when religion is needed in the Triobriand island tribes?
Ocean fishing is accompanised by 'canoe music'-rituals to ensure safe expeditions,
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What is another example of when religion is needed in individual and social upheavel?
After the 2004 Tsunami most of the world's religions sent support teams to the disaster area. They helped rebuild schools maintaining the link between society, education and religion,
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Give an example of a neo-functionalist and what do they say is happening in modern society?
-Bellah, -A process of individuation has occured,
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Therefore, what does he argue people need religion for?
Peopl seek individual meaning from religion, as well as it having an important function in helping people integrate into society,
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Although there is a decline in religion, how are people still bound together and what does it mean?
People are still bound together by Civil Religion which are events that we collectively worship or bring us together to reinforce collective norms or morals
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Give some examples of Civil religion.
-Royal Wedding which 4 billion people watched, -2012 Olympic Games, -Queens Diamond Jubilee,
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Who supports functionalist views theoretically?
Postmodernists, Bauman,
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What does Bauman suggest?
He suggests that religion helps people cope with difficult questions such as human existance. He argues because people's beliefs change rapdily as new information becomes available to them, people turn to religion for moral and ethical guidance,
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What does this suggest about functionalist ideas?
That they have wider theoretical appeal,
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What two groups have criticised functionalist theory on a theoretical level?
Weberian and Marxist sociologists,
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How does Weber criticise functionalist ideas?
He argues religion doesnt operate to create social solidarity/ harmony, but believes the move from feudal cottage industries to large scale industrialised factories couldnt occur without prostant work ethic,
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What does this suggest?
This suggests the functionalist approach only offers a partial view on how religion fucntions within society,
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How do Marxists criticise functionalist ideas theoretically?
Marx claims religion doesnt transmit shared values and norms bur rahter a set of ruling class ideologies.
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Give an example of ruling class ideologies being transmitted in religion?
For example, the idea that everyone will be equal in heaven keeps the proletariat working for the bourgeoisie,
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What does this suggest?
That the functionalist approach offers a distorted and rose-tinted view of how religion functions within society,
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Why is functionalist theory, in short, criticised by postmodernists?
They claim to provide a compelte explanation (meta-narrative) of the function of religion in society, They argue other explanations (narratives) should be considered in order to develop a complete explanation of the function of religion,
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What do Postmodernists beleive about religion now?
That people no longer look to religion to provide all the answers, or as guidance for their norms and values.Instead, globalisation where religious pluralism has developed a society, people can now chose religion- personalised spirituality,
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How do Postmodernists regard society and why?
As being fragmented, rather than integrated. Society is divided by class, ethnicity, gender age, locality and religion.
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What does this suggest about functionalsit ideas of religion functioning to produce social soldiarity/harmony?
They say it is roo simplisitic- Society is far too fragmented and divided to be able to unit a society purely on religious grounds,
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Who gives functionalist ideas empirical support?
Malinowski
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What did Malinowski find?
He found that the religion of the indigenous people of the islands reinforced norms and values and promoted consenus among the people,
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What does this suggest?
It suggest there is some validity to functionalist explanations of the role and functions of religion,
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However, why are Malinowski's conclusions criticised?
They are difficult to relate to a post-modern world. This is because his research was based on small scale tribal societies,
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Who has questionned functionalist ideas on empirical grounds?
Casanova
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What did Casanova find about religion?
Casanova found that religion doesnt provide consensus and unity. Instead, most of the conflicts in society have religious foundations.
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Give some examples of religious foundation conflicts?
The Iran/ Iraq war which has caused much bloodshed and instability in the Middle EASt
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What does this suggest about functionalist ideas?
The validity of functionalist ideas have to be questionned.
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Card 2

Front

According to functionalists, religion is an important agent of what?

Back

Secondary socialisation,

Card 3

Front

What do functionalists view as the two functions of religion in society?

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

What is the definition of an integrative force?

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

What is the definition of a regulatory force?

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Preview of the front of card 5
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