Sociology

Topics: Sociology, Religion, Sociology of religion Pages: 6 (1098 words) Published: November 28, 2013
(Some of the) Key Thinkers: Beliefs in Society

NAME
CONTRIBUTION
CONCEPT
Armstrong
Feminist: Religion ‘not been particularly good to women…usually male affairs with women relegated to marginal positions’

Barker
Making of a Moonie: most members from middle class (link to relative deprivation as appeal of sects/NRMs)

Bellah
Functionalist: religion in US = ‘Americanism’ + Decline in influence of religious institutions not evidence of secularisation, but move to individual belief/practice Civil religion + Americanism
Berger
Interpretivist: religious explanations enable people to make sense of world Homeless mind
Bunting
Religion now is characteristic of postmodernism i.e. way to construct ID (consumer choice of NRM/NAMs)has led to religion being like a DIY cocktail

Daly
Feminist: religion acts as ideological patriarchal force
Patriarchy
Davie
Religious belief = widespread, but nowadays expressed privately not within religious institutions ‘Belief without belonging’
Durkheim
Functionalist: definition of religion based on sacred vs. profane (beliefs/practices based thereon) + religion = worship of society (based on totemism) + religion has functions* + Changes with modernity (won’t disappear? Sacred symbols still needed) *Social solidarity + Collective conscience + Value consensus Engels

Neo-marxist: Religious movements originate in oppressed classes (e.g. Christianity) – could be source of change? Liberation theology
Heelas
NAMs: self-religions (evidence of rejection of science/rationality), found minor growth in NAMs during Kendal Project. Holistic milieu
Herberg
Despite high attendance in US, argues secularisation occurs within religious organisations (i.e. source of ID/community – not authentic religion) Authentic religion
Lyotard
Postmodern society characterised by loss of confidence in grand explanations/theories or metanarratives (of science & religion) Metanarrative
Maduro
Neo-Marxist: religion can be revolutionary, challenging ruling class dominance (Latin America), priests aiding oppressed Liberation theology
Malinowski
Functionalist: religion deals with (a) life crises (esp. death) (b) events where outcome is uncertain  anxiety (threats to social order)

Marx
Religion compensates (‘opium’) for ruling class oppression + acts as social control mechanism  working class unaware of exploitation (false consciousness)/don’t challenge social order + religion will disappear after communism replaces capitalism Opium of the people + ruling class ideology

Miller and Hoffman
Women: more religious/attend church more due to socialised into characteristics associated with religiosity + less in paid work, more time for religion Differential socialisation/ roles
Niebuhr
Originator of concept of denomination
+ looked at sect development (don’t survive beyond generation) Death or denomination
Parsons
Functionalist: religion provides behavioural guidelines + helps adjust to unforeseen events/uncertainty + gives meaning to life + Disengagement  church loses functions (structural differentiation) but religion still provides meaning & values Core values

Stark and Bainbridge
Religion wont disappear, but pluralism results from people turning away from traditional religions in search of supernatural and religious compensators Compensators
Troeltsch
Developed church/sect typology
Church & sect
Wallis
Developed 3-fold typology of NRMs (vs. sect/cult confusion)
+ origins of NRMs W-rejecting: transformation of society
+ origins of NRMs W-affirming: self-improvement/spiritual growth World rejecting, accommodating & affirming NRMs
Watson
Study of veiling: veil has power to liberate/not necessarily repressive (Western perspective - ethnocentric?)

Weber
Religion: possible force for social change (e.g. Calvinism/Protestant work ethic  work practices/spirit of capitalism) + religious explanations for lowly social position  sect formation + Reason replaces faith (demystification...
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