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Lecture 8

Lecture 8 Notes Complete in-depth analysis of Lecture 8 notes + notes taken from chapter 13 of "Exploring Sociology"!!!!


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC101
Professor
Barry Mc Clinchey
Lecture
8

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SOC 101 001: Lecture 9
Religion
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
THEORETICAL INSIGHTS INTO RELIGION
Functionalism
Durkheim (1912, 1954)
- All religions originate in society, separating the world into the profane and the sacred
- The profane encompasses the secular aspects of life (objects, practices, behaviours)
- Sacred originates within the members of society who assign special meaning to certain
objects or rituals.
- Religion is strong source of social power that could inspire collective action.
- Limitations include: Religion is not purely functional, Some religions are strict and deny
people ability to think for themselves, Durkheim’s analysis of sacred and profane is overly
rigid and does not fit anthropological record, religions compete with many social
institutions to achieve personal identity, functionalist analysis fails to recognize the roles of
social class, power, etc., and because religion is expression of collective conscience, it
suggests little opportunity for individuals to think for themselves.
Conflict Theory
3 primary assumptions
1. Religion is socially constructed and built upon economic relationships.
2. Religion diminishes feelings of frustration resulting from the forces of alienation.
3. Religion is used by the social, political, and economic elite to control the workers.
Marx, religion is the opiate of the people
- Used as a form of social control to prevent the proletariat to view the world as they see it
today.
- Before people could be truly happy, they have to throw off their blinds and see their true
exploited position.
- To understand religion one must understand, social, economic, and political landscape.
-
Symbolic Interactionism
- Important source of rituals and symbols that help to define people’s perceptions of their
social world
- Important element of symbolic interactionism is how they combine to influence how people
see themselves,
- Rituals help to reinforce group membership
o Ritual as remembering
o Ritual as social bonding
o Ritual as regulating moral behaviour
o Ritual as empowerment
Three phases of conversion (Andersen and Taylor, 2006)
- Questioning phase
- Incorporation
- Intense interaction
Feminist Theory
Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902)
- The women’s Bible-correcting biblical interpretation biased against women
- Written by men and constitutes a clear expression of the patriarchal culture
- In virtually all religions, women have lower status
- Women are portrayed as unclean because of birth, impulsive, etc.
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