Functionalist view on religion. Sociological Perspectives on Religion 2019-02-18

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Sociological Theories of Religion

functionalist view on religion

Cohen argues that rather than needs a society has dispositional facts: features of the social environment that support the existence of particular social institutions but do not cause them. Fatalism is the excessive amount of regulation which leads to one committing suicide. All agree that religion promotes stability and helps to preserve the status quo and prevent upheaval and rapid social change. He identifies two types of situations in which religion performs this role. This gives meaning to what might otherwise seem a meaningless existence.

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Sociological Theories of Religion

functionalist view on religion

They say it ultimately operates as an agency of socialization. Religion is construct of a human mind as it created by human to ease the pain produced by exploitation of the upper-ruling class according to Marxist. However, there are some criticisms of the functionalist view of religion, for example functionalism fails to realise the conflict that can be caused by religion, for example the conflicts in northern island between the catholic and protestant faiths. This approach looks at society through a , which is a broad focus on the that shape society as a whole, and believes that society has evolved like organisms. These same studies revealed a positive correlation between religious involvement and lower levels of hypertension, depression, and clinical delinquency. For example: funeral ceremonies and belief in life after death help us cope with the sense of meaningless after bereavement.

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The Functionalist Perspective on Religion: Summary Revision Notes

functionalist view on religion

Feuerbach maintained that people do not understand society, so they project their own culturally based norms and values onto separate entities such as gods, spirits, angels, and demons. For example, is an Indian Muslim equally likely to be as disadvantaged as a Pakistani Muslim or is the key difference Indian and Pakistani? Certainly Durkheim was one of the first theorists to explain a phenomenon with reference to the function it served for society. Yet they fail to see how it also can cause major social change. In the totemism culture people for clans to which each clan has its own totem, which is their form of identification, similar to that of religion as we know it, Christianity, Hindu, Jewish etc. Civil religion suggests that sacred qualities are attached to aspects of society itself, with non-religious rituals and ceremonies performing similar functions as religion, though not necessarily having any connection with the supernatural therefore it is an inclusivist definition for this civil religion. Toward a General Theory of Action.

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Structural functionalism

functionalist view on religion

On the other hand, feminists would argue that religion solely benefits men and subordinates women. Among these American functionalist sociologists is Robert K. Durkheim and can include a wide range of belief system for example: football fans, Elvis worshippers etc…therefore according to the functionalist religion is a set of moral values that form the collective conscience, which ensures social stability. In this theory, culture and social structure are seen as a biological or cultural at the group level. Marxist analyses of religion traditionally present it as a powerful ideology that expresses and reinforces class division and oppression.

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The Functionalist Perspective on Religion

functionalist view on religion

Functionalists would say that if… 1349 Words 6 Pages perspectives when it comes to the examination of our laws. Religion helps to minimise disruption, e. Therefore, social structures work together to preserve society. A review of 498 peer-review academic studies revealed that a large majority of them showed a positive correlation between religious commitment and higher levels of perceived well-being of self-esteem. Durkheim 1912 said that all societies are separated into… 1262 Words 5 Pages Deviant by one group, are seen as acceptable and even desirable by others. It is also known as structural-functionalism because it often focuses on the ways social structures e. As many scholars have noted, all institutions are subsumed under kinship organization, but, with increasing population both in terms of sheer numbers and density , problems emerge with regard to feeding individuals, creating new forms of organization—consider the emergent division of labour—coordinating and controlling various differentiated social units, and developing systems of resource distribution.

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Sociological Theories of Religion

functionalist view on religion

This serves to promote consensus and social stability. Modern social theory: an introduction. By this particular logic, it can be argued that functionalists do not necessarily explain the original cause of a phenomenon with reference to its effect. Using material from Item A and elsewhere, assess different sociological explanations of suicide. Durkheim also stated that religion is used as a collective conscience used to avoid anomie. Therefore it helps society to bind together and religion acts as conservative force in promoting social cohesion.

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Functionalist theory of religion

functionalist view on religion

Archived from on 22 February 2012. Some critics, like Italian theorist , claim that the perspective justifies the status quo and the which maintains it. Functionalism also has an anthropological basis in the work of theorists such as , and. This looked at when things such as funerals and divorce occur. This was developed in the 1960s by Bellah with his work on Civil Religion.

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Functionalist Views on Religion Research Paper

functionalist view on religion

However Merton does explicitly state that functional analysis does not seek to explain why the action happened in the first instance, but why it continues or is reproduced. Merton believes that there are 5 situations facing an actor. As has been shown above, Merton addressed this limitation through his concept of deviance, and so it can be seen that functionalism allows for agency. Therefore by offering an illusion of hope in a hopeless situation, it prevents the thoughts of working class to overthrow the system. Durkheim suggested a religion could be seen as a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things. Bellah 1967 argued that in some modern secular states, people worshipped society in a clear way, still based around symbols, but without the supernatural, divine element of traditional religions. Within functionalist theory, the different parts of society are primarily composed of social institutions, each of which is designed to fill different needs, and each of which has particular consequences for the form and shape of society.


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