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Sociology 1020
Kim Luton

1 Chapter 7: Gender Relations Biological and Social Determinism → Nurture implies a possibility of change, nature is m ore fixed-and how the weight assigned to one factor or the other varies with the specific behaviour being explained. → Biology and social effects affect the gender gap (i.e., the likelihood of a man outliving a woman and vice versa) Numeracy and Literacy Differences → Gender imbalances in postsecondary education are well documented. → Female students are overrepresented in the humanities and social sciences while male students are the majority in mathematics, technology and sciences → Growing gender differences in literacy: some think that the greater physical activity among boys (biological factor?) discourages parents from reading to them as often as they do to girls (a social factor). → Girls told that they may not do well on a math test actually do less well, while boys given the same message do better, perhaps in an “I’ll show you” fashion. → Positive expectations thus may be ever more important for girls than for boys → Different brain structures Sex and Gender: Some definitions → Sex and gender are not the same → A person’s sex is a biological trait characterized by the XX chromosomes and estrogen for a female and the XY chromosomes and testosterone for a male Transgendered: those who includes aspects of both genders. → Gender is a social construct based on definitions of Transvestite, is a common term for masculinity and femininity and consisting largely of the a cross-dresser and is applied more norms and expectations that encourage people to often to males than females. behave in a “Sex-appropriate” manner → learning masculine and feminine gender roles occurs Transsexuals, automatically are one sex, but feel like and want to early in the socialization process and the specific contebe treated as a member of the of that learning varies across cultures over time other sex. So inconsistent are their → Gender identity is the perception, developed probably gender identity and their sex that by age three, of oneself as male or female. It is not to beme may seek medical procedures confused with sexual orientation, and is not necessarily to change their sex. consistent with a person’s sex. → Gendered order is a macro-level concept and refers not to individuals but to social structure. It includes gendered norms, gendered roles, and a gendered ideology, which together make social life gendered, directing how males and females should act. Its biggest influence is to create a gendered division of labour in which males and females, in both the unpaid and paid labour arenas, tend to act “gender-appropriately” → Gender roles are socially created and then learned; people are not born with them Major Theoretical Perspectives on gender Structural Functionalism → Gender is just another of the social conventions that maintain order and promote social stability → Public realm: paid labour and the instrumental tasks needed for survival; the domain of men in functionalist thought → Rationality is preferred over emotionality → In the traditional functional argument, women are delegated to the private realm of the home, providing unpaid domestic labour and responsible for expressive tasks like nurturing and 2 providing emotional support → The private sphere is valued less than the public one, and its inhabitants are generally dependent on inhabitants of the public realm → Women, especially work a double shift as paid employees and unpaid homemakers → Gender differences are relative, not absolute The symbolic interactionist perspective → See the world as socially constructed and changeable → Definitions of masculinity and femininity, gender roles, and gender norms are all negotiable → Brown and Gilligan argued that children learn gendered behaviour through a variety of processes, such as imitating others and receiving rewards and punishments for behaviour defined as -Extent to which language gender-appropriate or inappropriate communicates cultural values that in turn may affect behaviour. → Gender is more a product of social and cultural, rather-What is the role of language in than biological influences → Parents, siblings, peers, schools, religion and the masshe ideology of gender inequality? media and the workplace all play roles in contributing toan and wife”: does this gendered order encourage differential treatment of men and women? → Most behaviour is affected by what is defined as gender- appropriate, from the clothes worn, to more serious matters like the amount of food eaten, to life altering issues of safety, choice of occupation and parental responsibilities → Toys and clothes in stores give off subtle and not-so subtle messages about gender expectations → Gender is really a continuum rather than a duality, from very masculine, through androgyny (blending both masculine and feminine), to very feminine A Marxist conflict perspective → Marxists put primary emphasis on economic forces → View the economy as the driving force in society, influencing such things as religion , the law and communications → Neither men nor women possessed the means of production and each was in fact like property: workers of the capitalists, wives of their husbands → “cult of domesticity” reinforced the earlier biologically constructed beliefs about pregnancy and childbearing, strengthening the position that men and women have different innate interests and capabilities Feminist perspectives → Patriarchy: a system in which the traits associated with men are valued more than those associated with women → This gives men an unearned privilege relative to women → Liberal feminism: argues that gender inequality can be remedied by giving women greater opportunity → Socialist feminism: agrees that patriarchy must be eradicated, but methodically speaking, seeks a longer casual chain → Radical feminism: has one goal, the abolition of male supremacy and two connected focuses: biological and reproduction and paid labour Body Image → Girls who are prone to obesity and those who are subject to repeated negative comments concerned their shape, weight and eating habits are especially vulnerable to eating disorders, demonstrating a combination of biological and social factors → Boys suffer eating disorders much less frequently, and are usually trying to gain weight → Magazines and mass media depict unrealistic and unattainable body images; allows for an 3 individual to reflect negatively on their body type and body image → As Marx would put it, are women just additional victims of capitalist exploitation, a class in themselves, but not for themselves? → Not meeting these impossible to achieve norms lead not only to punishing diets and excessive exercise, but also to lower-self esteem problems and even suicide → Those who fail in attempts to alter their bodies suffer blame and guilt, perceiving that they did not buy the right stuff or try hard enough → Objectification is a deeper problem and involves viewing a person as an object, usually a sexual object → In television ads, revealing clothes are substituted for an illustration of the merits of the product → Loudest criticism arises when objectification occurs in the workplace, interfering with women’s achievements there The gendered wage gap → Women are more often enrolled in social science and commerce, and when in science, they are likely to choose biology. → The gender gap is greater in math, engineering and the physical sciences → Both the greater tendency for women to avoid certain types of paid work and to feel a greater responsibility for the unpaid work and to feel a greater responsibility for the unpaid work of the home are part of what was earlier called a gendered division of labour → The unpaid work includes wifework: meeting a husband’s sexual, physical and emotional needs; motherwork, fulfilling the emotional and physical needs of children and housework, care of the home, including cleaning, shopping, cooking and laundry → The unequal division of labour reinforces the tendency for women to take the “second” job in the family, the one that, although necessary, must be flexible enough to accommodate the unexpected. → There is much poverty among older women, especially among widows who must survive on the reduced pensions that follow a spouse’s death Experiencing Violence → Spousal abuse, an early attempt at gender-neutral language → Some research found that abuse is an equal-opportunity problem → Sexism is the appropriate label only if men’s experiences are different of when the average observer would feel that the experience is really not innocent Convergence → The gender gap is closing in respect to things like pay, job tenure and household responsibilities → This is called convergence → Convergence was driven primarily by changing patterns of marriage as including both career and home and secondarily by men accepting a share of household responsibilities → The wage gap is closing. But feminism and gender consciousness in general, has been disproportionately a white, middle-class, urban social movement Summary → Idea that within variation is greater than between variation; tempers any tendencies to dichotomize the sexes Chapter 10: Families → Families are the social arena in which most people spend most of their lives → As one of the institutions of society, families affect and are affected by other social institutions. → i.e., the desire to combine work and child-raising has been partly responsible for the increase in part time work and other forms of non-standard work in a 24 hour economy 4 → family has brought a change in the organization of the economy and the move toward a service economy has allowed families to spend a higher proportion of their total time in the labour market → studying the family is difficult because family behaviour is generally considered private → consequently, researchers are often barred from studying families in their natural settings → even when they do observe families, normal behaviour may be hidden from them or altered, as they attempt, either consciously or unconsciously, to present themselves in a favourable light → necessary to view the family against the background of the larger society Definitions of Marriage and Family → Marriage: can be defined as a commitment and an ongoing exchange. A commitment involves a more or less explicit contract that spells out the rights and obligations between partners and can be define at either the personal or social level → Expressive exchanges: emotional dimension of marriage-include love, sexual gratification, companionship and empathy → Instrumental exchanges-the task oriented dimension-including earning a living, spending money and maintain a household → Family can be defined as two or more people who are related by blood, adoption or some other form of extended commitment and reside together → The person must be related in some way and they must customarily maintain a common residence → Kin: individuals are related but do not live together. Often live in close proximity and are socially and economically integrated with other kin, but they are not considered a family unless they share a dwelling Variability in Family Patterns Number of partners in the marriage → Monogamy: marriage involving only two partners → Polygamy: marriage involving more than two partners → Polygyny: one man married to two or more women; husband-sharing → Polyandry: one woman married to two or more men; wife-sharing → Group marriage: marriage involving multiple partners, not specified above → Monogamy is the most prevalent marital form and the majority of marriages in almost all societies → Polyandry is even more rare and typically involves bothers who share a wife → Polyandry prevents the land the brothers will inherit from their father from being subdivided into parcels too small for subsistence and enables the inheritance to stay within the male line Sex Codes → Premarital intercourse was permitted in 41% of societies, conditionally approved of in 27%, mildly disapproved of in 4% and forbidden in 28% Consanguine versus nuclear bonds → In tribal societies, the consanguine family is generally paramount and kinship may predominate in all sphere of life: groups based on kin ties are economic units for production and consumption, political units with regard to power, and religious units with an emphasis on ancestral worship → Networks of relatives are important in this type of society; valued political allies → In a nuclear family, the kin network is considerably less important → Emphasis is on spousal bond → Although there are different orientations toward premarital and extramarital sex, reproduction and sex are generally controlled for the benefit of families 5 Uniformity and Family Patterns Importance of Marriage → Most societies place a high premium on marriage, at lease for reproduction and socialization of the young and the majority of adults are expected to fulfill these roles Incest Taboo → Prohibiting sex and marriage for close biological relatives is another almost uniform feature across societies → The taboo reinforces the family in two ways: first, restricting legitimate sexual activity to spouses prevents sexual rivalry from breaking up the family, → Second, the requirement to marry outside the nuclear family enlarges the kinship network through alliances with other families Importance of Inheritance → Families can be joined across generations by the passing on of property → The inheritance that links generations produces social relationships → We have not erased the differential transfer of wealth from parents to children between families or different classes Family Change → First transition brought about smaller families and involved a change in the economic costs and benefits of children, along with a new cultural environment that made it more appropriate to control family size → Transition changed family dynamics surrounding fertility → Changes in births, marriage, cohabitation and divorce brought fewer children, but also a higher proportion of children who are not living with both biological parents. → 1950s: a “golden age of the family”. Not only the peak of the baby boom, but it was also a period of the marriage “rush” as marriage occurred at young ages and almost everyone married → However not all was golden. Since the task of maintaining the home had been assigned to the women, men became less competent at the social skills needed to nourish and maintain relationships → Childless couples were considered selfish; single persons were seen as deviants; working mothers were considered to be harming their children; and single women who became pregnant were required either to marry or give up the children to preserve the integrity of the family Theoretical perspectives on Family Change → The phenomenon of family change has been addressed through two broadly competing explanations at the macro-level, as a societal institution, and at the micro level, as the social arena in which people spend most of their lives. Marco or structural explanations → Changes in any one part of society affect other parts, and that each part of society serves some function for the whole → Besides being the chief units of reproduction and socialization of the young, families were also the units of economic production and sometimes of political action and religious observance → Industrialization and modernization brought structural differentiation and increasingly, separate structures in society came to serve specific functions. → The family lost many of its roles in economic production, education, social security and care of the aged to non-family institutions such as factories, schools, medical and public health organizations, the police and even commercialized leisure → Long-term changes in the family are related to societal changes, especially changes in 6 economic structures → De-institutionalization, in the sense that there are fewer constraints on family behaviour → i.e., families have less control over the sexual behaviour of adolescents and are less involved in socializing their children Micro or cultural explanations → societies were held together by mechanical solidarity, a sense of belonging and immediate identity within the surrounding community (Durkheim) → in the industrial world, societies are held together more by organic solidarity, a division of labour whereby individuals are dependent on each other`s specialized abilities → Durkheim: the family has changed from a unit of survival, where relationships are based on a "division of labour", to a unit of "mechanical solidarity" based on a sense of common identity → Baby boom: dutiful generation Now: me generation, personal gratification → Families become more important as a source of emotional gratification for individuals → Families are quicker to break apart when individual members do not find a particular arrangement to be gratifying Anticipating marriage and mate Selection Family behaviour over the life course → The increased life expectancy and the decreased family size of today`s societies present a very different context for family life → The increased rate of survival of parents means that the nuclear family can now be much more self-sufficient → Under high mortality conditions, it was very risky to depend on the nuclear family alone Socialization for Marriage → To be properly socialized for any role, one needs the motivation to practice the appropriate behaviour, the ability to perform the requirements of the role, and the knowledge of what is expected → Courtship partly involves each gender training the other to be more responsive to what each wants and expects Dating and premarital intercourse → Waller: the "principle of least interest ". this means that the less involved person has more power because he or she has less to lose if the relationship ends → Premarital sexual standards: standards by which people judge the acceptability of premarital sex → Abstinence standard: forbids premarital sex → Double standard: grants men premarital sexual license, but expects premarital virginity of women → Love standard regards sex as a physical expression of love and sees premarital sex as acceptable when love or strong affection is present → Fun standard: views sex as primarily a giving and receiving sexual pleasure; intercourse is acceptable as long as the partners are willing Home Leaving → Not only are younger generations staying longer in school, but young people trying to get established through a first job are also more likely today to return home Cohabitation → Initially, cohabitation often was a short pre-honeymoon period → Later, it became a longer period and the normal form of entry into unions for persons who are single, but especially for the previously married → People living together do not consider themselves married; their cohabitation can be seen as an alternative to being single 7 → However, increasing numbers consider cohabitation as an alternative to marriage → At first, cohabitation is a prelude to marriage, and then it is seen as a probationary period where the strengths of the relationship may be tested prior to committing to marriage → In this second stage, cohabitation is a form of conjugal life, largely without children → Third stage, cohabitation is socially acceptable and becoming a parent is no longer restricted to marriage → Fourth stage, cohabitation is a substitute or alternative to marriage, including being a lasting arrangement in which to raise children Homogamy in mate selection → Homogamy: the idea that people marry others like themselves → Homogamy is also significant by education and social class → Most people are likely to marry someone who is pretty much like themselves in most social and economic characteristics, and who has similar things to exchange in the marriage bargain The timing and propensity to marry → Heterogamy: occurs with respect to age. On average, women marry at a younger age than men → in some societies the ideal age gap is 5-10 years → 1990 Survey: 41% of couples are within two years of age. 51% of cases the man is 2 or more years older and in 38% three or more years older. In contrast, only 6% of women are two or more years older than their husbands → A younger person is likely to be less experienced at taking responsibility and playing leadership roles and to have achieved less in economic or career terms, a condition known as mating gradient: the lesser power of a woman in a typical marriage, partly due to her being younger than her husband → As achieved characteristics, particularly education and occupation, play an increasing role in the lives of women, the timing of the transition to marital relationships is delayed while stable work careers are being established → Women`s greater economic independence also allows them to search longer for the right person → For both sexes, marriage has become less central to the transition to adulthood and to the set of roles that define adult status → Employment today is a prerequisite for marriage especially for men, but also for women → In general, later marriage is associated with higher socioeconomic status Marital and Family Interactions Models of the division of paid and unpaid work → Give the importance of both paid and unpaid work, it is useful to consider how couples divide their time into these categories → Complementary-roles model task sharing in a family where the husband spends more time at paid work and the wife at unpaid work → Double burden: the wife is doing the same amount of paid work but more unpaid work → Collaborative or role-sharing mode: model or task sharing in a family where both spouses spend an equal amount of time at both paid and unpaid work Lone – parent families → Almost all lone parents leave this state within 20 years, with about a quarter of cases involving the departure of the children and three-quarters the formation of new unions, thus involving step-parenting → Compared with currently married women of the same age, female lone parents are more likely 8 to have lived in common law relationships, to have had their children earlier and to have less education → In effect, they must raise children while facing a double disadvantage of lack of support from a spouse and few job skills → Lone parents experience responsibility overload → As well as task overload. → And emotional overload: always on call to give emotional support Childbearing and Children Family change and children → Many children live through a diversity of family trajectories → Cohabitation, births outside of marriage, increased divorce, and family reconstitution either through cohabitation or marriage Martial Dissolution → The risk of divorce in the US is greater when one`s parents have separated, or when parents have higher education → Higher men`s incomes reduce divorce → Divorce propensities are particularly high for those who married at a young age and who had premarital births → Further, those marrying young are more likely to be downwardly mobile, especially if the wife is pregnant at the time of marriage, because this detracts from the possibility of pursuing further education → Divorce is also higher for couples raising step-children, for those who have a larger age difference at marriage and for persons whose parents had separated → Divorce levels are also higher at lower levels of socioeconomic status Decrease in instrumental functions → Women with higher incomes have higher divorce prospects → Divorces are less likely to occur when there are young, dependent children because the family is more economically interdependent at that time. Importance of the expressive dimension → We have argued that marriage now is seen much more as an arrangement for the mutual gratification of participants → Families are expected to serve individual needs, rather than individuals serving family needs → Divorce may be more prevalent today because it represents a natural solution to marriages that do not serve the mutual gratification of the persons involved → Persons getting divorced are generally, not doing so because they do not want to be married; instead they do so because they find the exchange with a particular partner to be unrewarding Redefinition of the marital commitment → The social stigma surrounding divorce has lessened considerably and people now accept that divorce occurs frequently among the "normal” population. Anticipating future change and continuity → The level of divorce has gone up significantly, but it is best viewed as a form of family reorganization → Perhaps the greatest change relates to the liberation of gender roles → The greatest difficulty is the resistance to a more equal sharing of the unpaid family work Summary → Boys tend to be more socialized toward the sexual and girls more toward the emotional aspect of heterosexual relationships 9 → Children are expensive and people are having fewer of them → There has been a weakening of the norm that childbearing is an essential part of marriage → The rising level of marital dissolution was related to the decrease in instrumental functions played by the family, the increase in the importance of the expressive dimension in marriage, and the changing definition of the commitment Family Terms Family and Kin Nuclear family: a traditional family consisting of at most two generations, including a couple and their unmarried children Lone-parent family: one parent and one or more children Common-law union: a nuclear family consisting of partners, who are not formally married, with or without children Reconstituted family: a nuclear family with children from a prior union of one of the spouses Blended family: a nuclear family that includes children from more than one marriage or union Extended family: a family that includes more than spouse and unmarried children living in the same residence Consanguine Family: a family organization in which the primary emphasis is on the biological relatedness rather than the spousal relationship Kin: People related by blood, adopted or marriage Sex of Partners Heterosexual: male and female partner Same sex: two men or two women Choice of partners Exogamy: partner must be chosen from outside a defined group Endogamy: partners must be members of the same group Descent Patrilineal: descent traced through male line; children not related to mother’s relatives Matrilineal: Descent traced through female line; children not related to father’s relatives Bilateral: descent that follows both lines; children related to both parents’ relatives Residence Patrilocal: couple takes up residence with the husband’s parents Matrilocal: couple takes up residence with wife’s parents Neolocal: couple resides alone Authority and Dominance Patriarchal: males are the formal head and ruling power Matriarchal: females are the formal head and ruling power Egalitarian: equal dominance of partners Chapter 11: Religion → Churches worked to bolster the middle class values, norms, and goals favoured by the majority of Canadians → Across North American, levels of religious participation began to plummet in the 1960s as many baby boomers rebelled against the “establishment”, and about half of this huge demographic group chose to follow the ethnic of the counter-culture, to “turn on, tune in and drop out” → Over the last 50 years, Canada has become an increasingly secular society → The influence of religious symbols, ideas and organizations on both the daily life and public 10 affairs of this nation has waned dramatically → Although proportionally fewer Canadians attend church on a regular basis, the vast majority of Canadians still identify with some particular religion → It is also the case that most Canadians report that they engage in private religious activities at least once a month → Industrialization, urbanization, the growth of science, education and the state, have all effected a permanent change in the forms and functions of religion as a social institution → In much of the rest of the world, religion not only continues to be a primary marker of social identity, but its salience has increased in the face of threats to cultural autonomy posed by the process of globalization → Religious influence dominates political life in some countries Inventing the Religious Past We Need in the Present: the Goodness Meets da Vinci [Side Box] → Well before the rise of known historical religions like the religions of Greece and Rome, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam-the dominant form of religion in most communities throughout the world, including Europe, was a Goddess religion. → The “Goddess” involved might have had different names in different places, but in all places She was intimately associated with the Earth and the women who served Her possessed spiritual authority → Traditions that formed around the Goddess promoted a number of other things, among them the equality of females and males, and an emphasis on living in harmony with nature and with other human communities → The idyllic world of the Goddess came to a crashing halt with the rise of patriarchal and warlike cultures whose male-centred religions came to supplant the religion of the Goddess → There is a lack of real archaeological evidence to support it → What seems to have happened is that proponents of the Goddess hypothesis took a number of gender beliefs that were popular in the 1970s and 1980s and projected these beliefs onto an invented past → Why? Because it served as a social function in the present. Studying Religious Life Sociologically The Challenges of Research on Religion Studying the religious experience → Religious experience is unique → Supernatural: those things or experiences which appear to be inexplicable in terms of the laws of nature or the material universe → The task of sociology is to detect and gauge the nature and significance of the human consequences of such claims and experiences → For the purposes of sociological analysis, it can remain an open question whether the gods or God exist; that is a matter for the philosophers and theologians to debate. → Sociologists will confine their attention to those aspects of people’s religious life that can be observed and measured in some way Defining religion → Substantive definitions of religion: emphasize what religion “is”, by focusing on some crucial and presumably universal feature of religious activity → a classic illustration of this substantive approach is provided by Tylor, the British anthropologist who suggested that religion be defined as “belief in Spiritual Beings” → belief is only one aspect of religion, and in many religions, both old and new, belief is secondary to various forms of actions and practice → participation in rituals takes precedence over beliefs 11 → Tylor’s definition suffers from an additional problem. It relies on a term that is itself in need of further definition. What, we should ask, constitutes, a “spiritual being?” → Functionalist definitions of religion: focus on what religion “does” and tend to suffer from the reverse limitation: they can be too broad and inclusive → Religion is a system of beliefs and practices by means of which a group struggles with the ultimate problem of human life – Yinger → Some people may throw themselves whole-heartedly into the service of some cause, like the fight for political freedom or an attempt to save the environment → They may derive much of their understanding of the world, and a sense of ultimate meaning and worth, from engaging in these activities. But is this the same as being religious? → Religion: is a system of beliefs, and practices about transcendent things, their nature and their consequence for humanity. The transcendent refers here to some level, type of dimension of reality that is thought to be intrinsically different from, and in some sense higher than, or beyond, our ordinary experience of the world Measuring religiosity → Measuring how religious people are, their religiosity , is problematic as well → Survey researchers regularly ask people about their religious affiliations, levels of attendance, belief in God, and so on → Answers to these questions can be poor indicators of how truly religious people are → Religiosity is a complex blend of states of mind, attitudes, and behaviours, and people can be religious in several ways → Glock and Stark recommended inquiring into at least eight dimensions of religious life to assess (1) the experimental, whether people think they have had contact with the supernatural; (2) the ritualistic, their level of participation in public rites; (3) the devotional, their level of participation in activities like praying or saying grace before mealsw; (4) belief, the degree to which they agree with the doctrines of their faith (5) knowledge, their degree of recognition and understanding of the beliefs of their religion (6) the consequential, the effects of their religion on their everyday life (7) the communal , the extent to which they associate with others members of the same religion and lastly (8) the particularistic, the degree to which they think their religion is the one and only truth path to salvation → Glock and Stark tended to use conventional criteria to measure each dimension in their work on American piety with at least two undesirable consequences → First, unconventional religious practices, like the belief in astrology, were simply excluded from their study → Second, a bias toward a more conservative style of Christianity was implicitly built into their measures → No matter how on chooses to measure religiosity, every approach is plagued by the problems of self-reporting → In general, people are inclined to provide researchers with answers that exaggerate their religiosity because it is still thought of as socially desirable to be at least somewhat religious, especially in the U.S The Insight of Issues and Classical Theory Marx: Religion and ideology → Marx believed that in every age, religion served to justify the rule of one class over another → That hierarchy was seen either as divinely ordained or as part of the natural order of things → Marx argued that humanity had not been created in the image of God and that God had been created in the image of humanity → The beliefs and teachings of religion, he stated, are conforming illusions, designed to 12 compensate people for the sacrifices and misery of their present lives with promise of rewards for good behaviour in another life → Categorized religion was the “opium of people” → The quest for religious virtue subdues the mind and distorts thinking, just like a powerful narcotic, distracting people from developing a critical appreciation of the real source of their deprivation: their economic and political exploitation at the hands of a dominant class → For Marx, Christianity was a clear example of how religion served the interests of the ruling class to the detriment of the working class → Marx argued that the Christian message suggest that what happens in this world, including the fact that one is poor, oppressed, is far less important than what happens in a supposed next world and so it discourages people from thinking about their lot in this world → Christianity also promoted interests of the ruling classes to the extent that particular Christian denominations stress blind obedience to authority or beliefs that certain forms of inequality are established by God Durkheim: Religion and Social solidarity → Durkheim saw a greater purpose for religion in society → Was interested in understanding the processes that held societies together, that kept them unified and strong in the face of adversity and change → In the past, he believed religious beliefs and practices had protected the moral integrity of social relations → They worked to hold individualistic impulses at bay, while cultivating an altruistic desire to serve the needs of the group even above those of the individual → Durkheim had to interest in the dismissing religion as an unnecessary illusion → Durkheim sought a natural and not supernatural explanation for the persistence of religious convictions → Argued that the origins of religion are to be found in the experience of society itself → Devised a theory of religion based on the study of what was then though to be one of the simplest of religions, that of an Australian Aboriginal group, the Arunta → Now said to be mistaken → Durkheim defined religion as “ a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things...which unit into one single moral community...all those who adhere to them.” → The most distinctive trait or traditional religious life, Durkheim stipulated, is the division of all things into two opposed categories, the sacred and the profane → Sacred: those things set apart by society and treated with awe and respect, in many cases because of their association with gods or God → The sacred, whatever it may be, is thought to possess a tremendous and unique power that requires people to take special care in its presence → Profane: quite literally, all that is not sacred. In most cases, the world of everyday, non- religious experience → Religious systems place people in controlled contact with the sacred in order to call upon its power to protect them from the challenges of profane life → Religion, unlike the mere practice of magic or superstition, is always a group activity → It is a social phenomenon and like the religion of the Arunta, deeply concerned with the regulation of the internal and external relations of the group → Durkheim observed two features of being in the presence of things deemed sacred → First, devotees are moved by feelings of heightened strength → Second, believers feel that this strength comes from sharing in a power that is both outside of themselves and greater than themselves, and capable of acting upon them with or without their 13 consent → Collective conscience: the term Durkheim used to describe the sense of excitement and power people experience when participating in lively events involving relatively large crowds, like a religious revival, a rock concert, or good football game → Caught up in the emotional and almost contagious energy of the crowd, people will often experience levels of enthusiasm, ecstasy, pride and fear quite out of keeping with their solitary experience → Collective effervescence: Durkheim used to describe the sense of excitement and power people experience when participating in lively events involving relatively large crowds, like a religious revival, a rock concert, or good football game Weber: Protestantism and the rise of capitalism → Weber believed he could detect a common and essential feature of modernity: an ascetic ethic of vocation → Unlike their medieval counterparts, the people involved in the creation and operation of the early systems of modern commerce, government and law performed their tasks with an unprecedented diligence and lack of concern for their immediate material benefit → Ascetic: practicing self-discipline with a view to spiritual improvement, especially by living a simple and austere life, doing without such common creature comforts as warm and soft beds, rich foods or fancy clothing → Vocation: an approach to work traditionally associated with a religious calling → Martin Luther’s concept of the calling and John Calvin’s doctrine of predestination → Calling: a purpose in life. In a religious context, it is the idea that people have been born to fulfill God’s will on earth through their life’s work → Doctrine of predestination: the belief that an all-knowing and all-powerful God will have known and determined, from the dawn of creation, who is religiously saved and damned → Individuals can do nothing to either know or change their predestined status without calling into question God’s supremacy → Success in one’s worldly calling became an unofficial sign that one was saved Understanding the forms of religious life → Researchers have been exploring ways in which religion operates as either an independent or dependent variable in the shaping of our societies → The seemingly sudden conversion of many well-educated, middle-class, young people to these alternative religions, beginning in the 1960s, stirred up a great deal of controversy → Using questionnaires, interviews, and participant observation, sociologists have striven to analyze, classify, and explain the current various forms of religious life → In classifying religious groups, sociologists have traditionally taken their lead from an initial distinction drawn by Weber, between church and sect → Churches: organizations into which people are born and baptized as infants. Membership is involuntary → Sects: voluntary organizations to which people usually convert, frequently as the result of very emotional experiences. Sects tend to be much more homogeneous in their membership, drawing disproportionately from the underprivileged elements of society. Sects tend to be more radical and ethnically stern than those of churches. Tend to be exclusive: individuals must meet and maintain certain requirements. More inspirational, volatile and anti-ritualistic orientation → Universal church: a very large, international religious organization seeking, ideally, to include everyone in the world in their membership → Ecclesia: a church that dominates a society or nation and considers itself, ideally at best, to be the sole legitimate religion of that society or nation 14 → Denomination: church-like religious organizations that acknowledge the legitimacy of other religious groups with which they are in competition for members → Cult: close religious system in which the members often live, work and worship in close proximity. Charismatic leader Why do Cult Suicides Happen? [Side Box] → Heaven’s Gate: Rancho Sate Fe, California: 39 members killed themselves → The nature and levels of hostility, stigmatization and persecution experienced by a group, vary widely and make comparisons difficult → Three internal features of new religious movements to the outbreak of violence: apocalyptic belief systems, heavy instruments in charismatic leadership and process of social encapsulation → The anticipation of the apocalypse tends to lead to a questioning of conventional norms and rules, and even the law itself → What good are the codes an inadequate humanity in the face of the ultimate acts of divine justice and retribution? → The struggle to overcome the precariousness of charismatic authority leads to a progressive intensifying of the leader’s power, along with increased homogenized, dependency and social and physical isolation of the followers Contemporary Conceptions of Religion: Secularization → Contemporary opinions have been influenced heavily by a recent and seminal theory of religion that epitomizes the subtle but important differences in the way secularization → Secularization: the process by which sectors of society are removed from the domination of religious institutions and symbols The theory of religious economies → Should think of particular religious organizations as business firms → This means thinking of religious organizations as having a product they want to sell to the public and as a way of attractive members and other resources → The most important product that religious firms market are compensators → A compensator is a strategy for obtaining a reward at a later date and Stark suggested that the compensator that sells best always has two attributes; reward involved will be of immense value and it will be difficult for people to evaluate if the specific strategy will indeed lead to the promised reward → Stark and his associates argued that if we think of religious groups as firms having a product to sell, then success is affected by the same things that affect sales in the business world Religion and Identity: Ireland and Quebec → By the late 1800s, Irish Catholics were among the most devout Catholics in the Catholic world → As “being Catholic” and “being committed to Irish nationalism” became increasingly intertwined over the course of the 19 century, “being a good Catholic`` became a way of identifying with the nationalist cause in Ireland → Quebec is another case where ``identity’ issues help to explain religious behaviour → In the early part of the 20 century, Quebec was a devoutly Catholic society → By the 1990s only a minority of Quebec Catholics attended weekly mass → What changed? Critical events, like the quiet revolution in the 1960s → Prior to this event, the Catholic Church was for all practical purposes the only organization in Quebec that had the power and will to promote and protect the interests of the French population in that province The rise of religious fundamentalism: myths and realities (side box) → Fundamentalism typically implies a belief in biblical inerrancy, that the bible is to be taken literally in every instance 15 → Early part of the 20 century, religious fundamentalism became increasingly popular among protestants and came to be fused with the evangelical tradition → In the case of Islam, fundamentalism seems to mean a desire to reverse the process of secularization, that is a desire to eliminate the institutional separation between religion and politics Thinking further about religion in Canada → Canada`s colonial history has produced what British sociologist Martin called shadow establishments → In English Canada, the extended political ties with Britain made the Anglican and Presbyterian churches predominant among the social, political and economic elites in Canada → In the span of three decades (1960-1990), the people of Quebec went from being one of the most religious populations in the world, by conventional measures like church attendance, to being one of the least religious populations → Exploring the differences in religiosity between the United States and Canada, for example, the Canadian sociologist Reimer found evidence to support the supposition, long held by others, that Americans are not nearly as religious as they appear → A generalized commitment to basic religious ideas and at least modest church attendance seem to be synonymous with the American way of life → Fewer Canadians may be religious, but they are more truly religious → Invisible religion: the term used by the sociologist Thomas Luckmann to describe non- institutional and private expressions
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