Assess the Sociological Explanations of the Relationship Between Globalisation and Religion.

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Assess the sociological explanations of the relationship between globalisation and religion. 33 marks

Secularisation theory has argued that modernisation has undermined religion. The importance of science and technology on economic development and rational worldview on which they depend on are seen as destroying the belief in supernatural. However religion can contribute to development, but most recently sociologists have examined what role religion may play in development in today’s globalising world.

This can be seen in India. Globalisation has brought rapid economic growth and has seen India become a more important player in the world political stage. It has brought prosperity to some, notably the Indian middle class. Nanda shows that 85% of India is Hindu and this is where globalisation has taken place. Globalisation has created a huge and prosperous, scientifically educated middle class working in IT, pharmaceuticals, etc. These are who secularisation theorists say will be the first to abandon religion.

However Nanda sees a vast majority of this class continue to believe in the supernatural. A study of developing societies in 2007 shows that Indians are more religious and only 5% claim their religion has declined in the past five years. It also found that urban areas are more religious that rural areas. Nanda goes as far to say that it is becoming fashionable to be seen as religious.

She examines what motivates this. Nanda rejects poverty and existential insecurity as a reason for their belief because they are not poor. She also rejects the idea that their religiosity is a defence mechanism to modernisation and westernisation. She argues that their religiosity is to do with their ambivalence to their new found wealth. This has helped to see the relationship between globalisation and religion, as Nanda points out that globalisation has increased the religiosity in India.

She also examines the role of Hinduism in legitimating a triumphalist...
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