Culture is what distinguishes humans from animals, but under Capitalism culture becomes a tool of the elite used to repress the masses. However, there is capacity for individuals to rise above false consciousness and usher in communism which is where the spontaneous production of culture can happen under free conditions.
The easiest way for students to prepare for the Theory and Methods parts of the A-Level Sociology Paper 1 and Paper 3 exams is to revise how Marxism applies to the different topic areas usually taught as part of the specification – typically the Family, Education, Religion and Crime and Deviance. For an overview of … Continue reading “Marxism Applied to Topics in A-level Sociology”
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?”
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”
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”
Functionalists and Marxists argue religion prevents change, Max Weber and others disagree!
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”
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”
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 (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”