Is Religion a Source of Consensus or Conflict?

Functionalism is the only perspective which has traditionally argued that religion is a source of value consensus, all other perspectives disagree with this in one way or another, but not all believe that religion is necessarily a cause of overt conflict in the world. Functionalism Functionalists generally argue that religion promotes value consensus in a … Continue reading “Is Religion a Source of Consensus or Conflict?”

Applying material from the item, analyse two criticisms of the view that religion is merely a tool of oppression

This is one possible example of a 10 mark ‘with item’ question which could come up in the AQA’s A level sociology paper 2: topics in sociology (section B: beliefs in society option).  Read the item, and then answer the question below. Item Karl Marx famously argued that religion was the ‘opium of the masses’ … Continue reading “Applying material from the item, analyse two criticisms of the view that religion is merely a tool of oppression”

Evaluate the view that religion no longer acts as a ‘shared universe of meaning’ for people today

Item B Berger (1990) argues that religion once provided a ‘shared universe of meaning’ and was used by people to make sense of the world, and to give their lives focus and order. He refers to religion as a ‘sacred canopy’, stretching over society and helping people to cope with the uncertainties of life. Other … Continue reading “Evaluate the view that religion no longer acts as a ‘shared universe of meaning’ for people today”

Civil Religion

Robert Bellah introduced the concept of civil religion to sociological debates surrounding the role and function of religion in society in the early 1960s. One of his best known works is his 1967 journal article ‘Civil Religion in America‘. Robert Bellah argued that ‘civil religions’ had become the main type of religions in the 20th … Continue reading “Civil Religion”

The Neo-Marxist Perspective on Religion

In contrast to Marx’s view that religion was a conservative force, neo-marxists recognize the role that religion can play in bringing about radical social change. One of the earliest Marxists to recognize this was Engels, who saw similarities between some of the early Christian sects that resisted Roman rule and late 19th century communist and … Continue reading “The Neo-Marxist Perspective on Religion”

The Marxist Perspective on Religion

Marx and Engels saw religion as a conservative force which prevented social change by creating false consciousness. This post summarises their key ideas and offers some supporting evidence and criticisms.

Gramsci’s Humanist Marxism

Gramsci (1891-1937) was the first leader of the Italian Communist Party during the 20s. He introduced the concept of hegemony or ideological and moral leadership of society, to explain how the ruling class maintains its position and argued that the proletariat must develop its own ‘counter-hegemony’ (or alternative set of ideas) to win leadership of … Continue reading “Gramsci’s Humanist Marxism”

The postmodern perspective on globalisation and popular culture

Postmodernists see the media as central to globalisation and emphasise the positive effects media globalisation has on society. Before reading this post you might like to review the concepts of postmodernity and postmodernism and globalisation. More individual choice The globalisation of the media means that people are now more aware of hundreds of diverse cultures … Continue reading “The postmodern perspective on globalisation and popular culture”

Lakewood Church and the Prosperity Gospel

Three out of four of the Largest churches in the U.S. preach the ‘Prosperity Gospel’ – these are megachurches which preach the idea that God is a spiritual source which individuals can call upon to ‘enrich’ their lives – popular buzzwords include ‘hope, destiny and bounty’, and the sermons are filled with optimism, with the … Continue reading “Lakewood Church and the Prosperity Gospel”