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AQA A2 Sociology revision
Unit 3 (SCLY3) Beliefs in Society (scroll down to find SCLY4) 1. Non-religious belief systems
Ideology, science, hegemony, pluralism, patriarchy, falsification theory and paradigms 2. Defining religion and measuring religiosity
Substantive and functional definitions
Giddens' and Durkheim's definitions
Ways of measuring religiosity (attendance figures, the census)
Problems of measurement - Davie. 3. Functionalism and religion
Durkheim, Parsons, Malinowski, Bellah
Religion as a conservative force 4. Marxism and religion
Marx and Engels
Religion as a conservative force (Marx)
Religion as an initiator of change (Engels) 5. Neo-Marxism and religion
Gramsci, Maduro, Turner
Religion as an initiator of change 6. Feminism and religion
De Beauvoir, El Saadawi, Watson
Religion as a conservative force 7. Weber and religion
Historical study - Calvinism, Lutheranism
Modern view - rationalisation
Religion as a past initiator of change 8. Postmodernism and religion
Lyon, Bauman 9. Religious fundamentalism
Definitions, examples, links to secularisation 10. Religious participation
By social group (age, ethnicity, gender and social class) 11. Religious organisations
Church, cult, sect, denomination
Troeltsch, Weber, Stark & Bainbridge
Wallis - NRMs
Reasons for NRM turnover 12. Secularisation
Arguments for - Wilson, Weber, Bruce (etc)
Arguments against - Durkheim, Parsons, Armstrong
Problems of measuring secularisation - Davie

NEW: my A2 students have produced brief summaries of some of the topics above. Here are their revision notes to help other students. Marxism and religion Marxism is seen as a social conflict perspective and Marxists such as Marx and Engels believe that religion is a tool of the bourgeoisie to maintain control of the proletariat; therefore religion is considered a conservative force. Marx viewed religion as a form of false consciousness as the proletariat are unaware and therefore believe in the concept of God, so that the proletariat will accept exploitation by the bourgeoisie, an example being the caste system in Hinduism where the untouchables get constantly discriminated against for being the lowest caste, for example having to clean toilets with their bare hands. However Marx assumes that all proletariat are religious and that the bourgeoisie control religion, yet there is no proof that this is the case, an example being the people’s temple; all individuals were considered equal, therefore there wass no social divide. Neo-Marxism and religion Rather than being a conservative force, neo-Marxists argue religion is an initiator of change, an example being Catholicism which in the past changed Poland from communist to capitalist.
Gramsci stated that religion wouldn't dissapear under communism and that it can be liberating and not oppresive; moral guidelines and theoretical ideas will still be required which religion can provide.
Maduro believed religion has relative autonomy so is separate from the state; he drew this conclusion from recent disputes between the catholic church and the state in Latin America, declaring his Liberation Theology, which states members of the church should fight oppresive right-wing dictatorships.
Turner disputes the fact that the working class were controlled by religion and states they attended church due to habit or coercion; he also states that Marx's views are outdated and the use of reluigion to legitimise primogeniture is no longer relevant as other institutions are used to control the masses.
Neo-Marxists in general ignore patriarchy/ethinicity and assume that in all contries religion is seperate from the state; however evidence can be drawn from the conflict in Afganistan between government rule and the taliban to disagree. Weber and religion Weber is the founder of the social action perspectives. Weber's historical work looked at how denominations of the Protestantism aided the early development of capitalism. The denominations Calvinism and Lutheranism were the initiators of capitalism according to Weber due to the fact the people valued hard work and they didn’t spend the money so they re-invested their wages into businesses. However, this may not be the case in some countries because early capitalism existed before Calvinism and Lutheranism.
Weber's modern day view argues due to rationalisation religious beliefs have been replaced by science, this ultimately results in secularisation. Overall, religion is neither a conservative force nor an initiator of change because it has little significance in society today. In criticism, fundamentalism e.g. Islamism is growing so therefore society cannot be becoming secular.
Feminism and religion
Feminists such as El Saadawi and De Beauvoir see religion as patriarchal because they see it as a way men can oppress women, an example being women are seen as dirty for 7 days after they give birth (as stated in the bible in Christianity). They see religion as a conservative force allowing the men to keep oppressing the women for example in some rural parts of India, Hindu men still control the women in some cases because they have to jump on their husband's funeral pyre even though this is illegal. El Saadawi would say religion is used for sexual oppression and Simone De Beauvoir sees religion as a form of patriarchy, social control, and deception.
However, Badawi would say that we are past that; we are 'post patriarchal' for example Wicca is a religion that emphasises women, and also Watson says the veil is liberating not oppressing.
Postmodernism and religion
The postmodernist view on society is that we have moved on from modernity, which can mean two things: According to Bauman we can no longer believe in science and therefore we turn to religious leaders to provide us with a monopoly of truth, which leads us back to stronger religious belief. According to Lyon it's because of the fact that we have moved on from the metanarrative of science so we can now pick and mix religion and take the best bits from each. One example of this would be the Raeliens as this religion shows a combination of science and religious beliefs, therefore people have chosen the best of both worlds.
Religious fundamentalism, such as extreme Catholicism, supports Bauman's view as the Pope is the religious leader who provides a monopoly of truth, however this contradicts Lyon as the belief is in one religi

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