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Chapter 16

SOCA02 textbook notes for chapter 16 - religion

8 Pages
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Winter 2011

Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOCA02H3
Professor
Malcolm Mac Kinnon
Chapter
16

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Chapter 16 Religion
Theoretical Approaches to the Sociology of Religion
Durkheim, Functionalism, and the Problem of Order
Collective conscience: comprises the common sentiments and values that people
share as a result of living together
Profane: refers to the secular, everyday world
Sacred: refers to the religious, transcendent world
Totems: objects that symbolize the sacred
Rituals: Durkheims usage public practices designed to connect people to the
sacred
Marx, Conflict, and Religion as a Prop for Inequality
Conflict theorists have lodged 2 main criticisms against Durkheims theory of
religion
oIt overemphasizes religions role in maintaining social cohesion
In reality, religion often incites social conflict
oWhen religion does increase social cohesion, it often reinforces social
inequality
Durkheim ignored this issue
Marx stressed how religion often tranquilizes the under privileged into accepting
their lot in life
Marx religion diminishes class conflict
oHe called religion the opium of the people
Civil religion: set of quasi-religious beliefs and practices that bind a population
together and justify its way of life
oRobert Bellah
Religion can maintain social order under some circumstances Durkheim
www.notesolution.com
It often reinforces social inequality Marx
Religion can promote social conflict
Weber, Social Change, and Symbolic Interaction
Weber if history is like a train, pushed along its tracks by economic and political
interests, then religious ideas are like railroad switches, determining exactly which
tracks the train will follow
oBook the Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism
What prompted vigorous capitalist development in non-Catholic Europe and North
America was
oFavorable economic conditions such as those discussed by Marx
oThe spread of certain moral values by the Protestant reformers of the 16th
century and their followers
Feminism and Religious Leadership
Religious doctrines reinforced patriarchy
Women should keep silence in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but
should be subordinate, as even the law says, if there is anything they desire to know,
let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak at
church
The Sidur, the Jewish prayer book, includes this morning prayer: blessed are you,
Lord our God, King of the Universe, who did not make me a woman
The Koran righteous women are devoutly obedientAs those women on whose
part you fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them, refuse to share their beds,
beat them
The Rise, Decline, and Partial Revival of Religion
Secularization
Thomas Hobbes described life as poore, nasty, brutish, and short
As material conditions improved, popular belief in magic, astrology, and witchcraft
gradually lost ground
oReplaced by Christianity
www.notesolution.com
Churches succeeded in their efforts of eliminating witches, and opposing belief
systems and practices
Secularization thesis: religious institutions, actions, and consciousness are
unlikely to disappear, but are on the decline worldwide
oMax Weber
Religious Revival
Many sociologists modified their judgments about secularization because
oAccumulated survey evidence showed that religion was not in an advanced
state of decay
oRevival of religious fundamentalism
Fundamentalists: interpret their scriptures literally, seek to establish a direct,
personal relationship with the higher being(s) they worship, and are relatively
intolerant of non-fundamentalists
The Revised Secularization Thesis
Holds that worldly institutions break off from the institution of religion over time. As
a result, religion governs an ever-smaller part of most peoples lives and becomes
largely a matter of personal choice
The Market Model
Characterizes religious organizations as suppliers of services
These services are in demand by people who desire religious activities
Religious dominations are similar to product brands
oThey offer different flavors’ of religious experience
Raises question of what motivates people to participate in religion
Rodney Stark and William Bainbridge argued that religions promise rewards
based on supernatural assumptions in exchange for particular types of behavior now
oReligious participation are particularly attractive to poor people
Market model has 2 main strengths
www.notesolution.com

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Description
Chapter 16 Religion Theoretical Approaches to the Sociology of Religion Durkheim, Functionalism, and the Problem of Order Collective conscience: comprises the common sentiments and values that people share as a result of living together Profane: refers to the secular, everyday world Sacred: refers to the religious, transcendent world Totems: objects that symbolize the sacred Rituals: Durkheims usage public practices designed to connect people to the sacred Marx, Conflict, and Religion as a Prop for Inequality Conflict theorists have lodged 2 main criticisms against Durkheims theory of religion o It overemphasizes religions role in maintaining social cohesion In reality, religion often incites social conflict o When religion does increase social cohesion, it often reinforces social inequality Durkheim ignored this issue Marx stressed how religion often tranquilizes the under privileged into accepting their lot in life Marx religion diminishes class conflict o He called religion the opium of the people Civil religion: set of quasi-religious beliefs and practices that bind a population together and justify its way of life o Robert Bellah Religion can maintain social order under some circumstances Durkheim www.notesolution.com
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