Functionalism is a macro theory, which is based on society as a whole, rather than just that of the individual. It is argued that functionalism generates many things for society. Religion, from a functionalist point of view, socialises people, teaching them norms and values of society, which are the basis for social unity. Religion further is a structure within functionalism which aids in influencing individuals lives. Functionalism claims that social solidarity, the uniting of people in society is an important part of maintaining social order, which is a functional pre-requisite for society to survive. In addition, Functionalists use the term, ‘Organic Analogy’, which is the comparison between society and the human body. The idea that like organs is a necessary condition in a human body, ensuring it functions correctly, society has different institutions, like religion which join up with others to enable society to work well, maintaining mutual agreement in society.
Durkheim researched into the Aborigines in Australia in 1912. The native Australians, believed in Totemism, the belief in worshipping objects with divine properties, such as plants and animals. The Australian aborigines carried out many religious ceremonies to worship their totem, which is an example of collective consciousness securing social solidarity as the tribe were brought together to worship as a group. Durkheim definition of religion was split into two parts: the Sacred, which consisted of all things Holy or spiritual, and the Profane, the ordinary things. The Aborigines’ ultimate holy object which also was seen as a place of worship was the Ayres Rock. Durkheim found that the Aborigines were divided into several clans, and each clan worshipped their designated totem, which performed as their God. Durkheim argued that having religion provided a set of moral beliefs which shapes collective conscience within... [continues]
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