Topic 1- Theories of religion

  • Created by: grayja03
  • Created on: 23-01-14 16:06
Explain the substansive definitions
Focus on the content or substance of religion such as, a belief in god or the supernatural.Substansive definitions are exclusive- they draw a clear line between religious and non religious beliefs.
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Explain the functional definitions
Functional definitions- define it in terms of social or psychological functions it performs for society.
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Explain social constructionist definitions
Social constructionists- focuses on how members of society define religion. There is no singular universal definition of religion because different individuals and groups mean very different things by 'religion'.
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What did Durkheim study about religion?
The sacred and profane- sacred are things that are forbidden, that inspire feelings of awe, profrane things that have no special significance. Totenism-religion can be studied in its simpliest form. The collective conscience and cognitive functions.
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What was Broinslow Malinowski's (1954)Theory?
Religion promotes solidarity, it does this by performing psychological functions. Religion helps to cope with stress for example, where the outcome is uncontrollable and uncertain or at times of a life crisis.
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What was Parsons (1967)Theory?
Sees religion helping individuals to cope with unforseen events and uncontrollable outcomes. Religion creates and legitimises sociey's central values and it is the primary source of meaning.
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What was Robert Bellah (1970) study of civil religion?
Multi-faith society like America. American society is an overarching civil religion- a belief system that attaches sacred qualities to society itself (eg. a flag)
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What are Marxist ideas of religion?
Religion is an ideology- distorts peoples perceptions of reality to serve the interest of the ruling class. Religion and alienation-Religion acts as an opiate to dull the pain of exploitation.
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What are Feminists ideas of religion?
Sees religion as patriarchal- male dominated. Religious institutionsreflects the perceptions of inequality.
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What was Linda Woodhead's (2000) study of religious feminism?
Much of traditional religion is patriarchal, she emphasises that it is not true of all religion. 'Religious forms of feminism'- women use religion to gain greater freedom (eg. hijab)
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Explain the functional definitions


Functional definitions- define it in terms of social or psychological functions it performs for society.

Card 3


Explain social constructionist definitions


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Card 4


What did Durkheim study about religion?


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Card 5


What was Broinslow Malinowski's (1954)Theory?


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