SOC101Y1 Study Guide - Final Guide: Ultimate Power, Big Business, Elite Theory

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Published on 9 Apr 2013
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Chapter 13:
Weber and ideas:
Maintained that religion, in addition to having a supernatural component, is
largely oriented toward this world
Unlike Marx and Durkheim, did not really concern with whether religion is
true or false
Argued that ideas, regardless of whether they are objectively true or false,
represent a person’ definition of reality and therefore have the potential to
influence behavior
Verstehen the need to interpret action by understanding the motives of the
actor researchers must place themselves in the roles of those being
Need to examine culture’s influence on religion
Noted that god conceptions are strongly related to the economic, social, and
political conditions in which people live
The growth of monotheism (belief in one god) is relates to goals in political
The nature of religion :
Religion is concerned with discovering life’s meaning whereas humanist
perspectives are concerned with making life meaningful
Personal religiosity:
much of early research used one of three basic indicators to determine the
religiosity of a person. All three assumed group involvement: identification,
membership, and attendance
Stark and Glock (1968) suggested that the religions of the world typically
expect their most devoted followers to hold key beliefs, engage in certain
practices, have supernatural experiences, and be aware of the central tenets
of their faith dimensions of religiosity
It is not enough to know or to believe or practice or experience; all four are
expected of the committed
Canadians exhibit relatively high levels of religious belief, practice,
experience and knowledge
8 in 10 say they believe in god
Americans are more religious than Canadians Samuel Reimer (2003):
religious devotion among Canadians is more likely to be based on conviction
Collective religiosity:
Personal religiosity is highly dependent on collective religiosity, or group
support of some kind
Ideas are sustained by relationships
The Church-Sect Typology
o There are numerically dominant groupings such as the Roman
Catholic Church
o Smaller groups have broken away from the dominant bodies
o From this pattern of dominant groups and break away groups,
sociologists developed an analytical scheme known as the church-sect
typology framework attempts to describe the central
characteristics of these two types of organizations, as well as account
for the origin and the development of sects
o Weber distinguished between church and sect primarily on the basis
of theology (churches emphasize works, sects stress faith) and
relationship to society (for churches, accommodation; for sects,
o Initially a spinoff from an established church, a sect forms into a
church itself
Organizational approaches
o Rodney Stark: religious groups are seen as “firms” or “companies”
competing for “market share”
o Features of religious groups:
Vast majority of those involved are following parental
Congregations usually compete with each other for
members and staff
Define meeting places as important centers for social
An obvious point of tension involve maintaining
integrity while providing products that attract
Goals commonly appear to be in conflict
How to satisfy he needs of the existing clientele while
reaching out to new people who are not involved, yet
have important needs themselves
Norms, Roles, and Sanctions
An examination of congregational roles reveals that
most groups in Canada often have a human resource
problem for 2 reasons
First, they are top-heavy with men and often
inadequately tap the resources of women, a reality that
has been variously met with acquiescence, resistance,
and a major of change
Second problems is that groups rely on volunteers to
carry out key roles religious groups are fragile
Researchers have tended to emphasize “the numerical
bottom lines” of religious groups and to focus on such
indicators of success as attendance, membership, and
The size of a groups is largely a function of birth and
mortality factors
The Canadian situation
In the 2001 census, 84 percent of Canadians indicated that they have a
religious preference
Catholics compose of the biggest part of the population (45%)
In Quebec, regular attendance has continued to decline among people young
and old
Yet monthly and weekly attendance increased between 2000-2005
The Sources of Religion
Individual differences in religion’s importance have called for an explanation
of why some people are religious whereas others are not
Individual-centered explanations:
o Desire to comprehend reality
o While reflecting on the meaning of existence, people have commonly
concluded that life has a “supernatural”, “trans empirical” dimension
o Weber: religion is a product of an inner compulsion to understand the
world as a meaningful cosmos and take a position towards it
o Reflection in itself does not usually lead to religious commitment or
o Sees religious commitment as the product of learning
o Freud: religion is learned pretty much like the multiplication table
o Durkheim: personal religiosity has social origins and, consequently
will strongly reflect the social environment from which we come,
beginning with our family
o Religion is very much a learned phenomenon
o Social pressures more active in response to hopes of other people
around you
o The devout are drawn primarily from the ranks of society’s deprived
or disadvantaged
o Religion provides with compensation (Marx, Freud?)
o Stark: 5 types of deprivation are predominant in the rise and
development of religious and secular movements: economic, social,
organismic, psychic, and ethical
o Suicide bombing since 2001? Are the attacks driven by extreme
o However, suicide bombers usually come from working class or middle
class backgrounds and are generally better educated
Structure-centered explanations:
Suicide bombers hardly exist in isolation the groups to which they belong
in turn are committed to getting rid of occupying forces, overthrowing