The following 10 mark outline and explain question above came up in the AQA’s November 2021 Sociology 7192/2 topics paper, as part of the beliefs in society section.
Outline and explain two ways that globalisation may have influenced the way in which religion acts as a force for change (10)
Probably the safest way to approach this question is to consider one way in which globalisation has reduced the capacity of religion to act as a force for social change and another it has increased it.
The challenge is going to be to keep the question tightly focussed on two ways, and drawing out the links, rather than drifting into discussing several ways in general.
This post on the impact of globalisation on religion more generally would be a good source to draw on for this question.
Globalisation and religion for social change
- One aspect of globalisation is the increased use of the internet for global communications which makes it easier for people to access information about religion.
- This means it is easier for fundamentalist groups to gain access to a wide audience via setting up their own websites and through social media, increasing their global reach, meaning that groups such as ISIS have managed to radicalise individuals in countries thousands of miles away from their main base such as England.
- Fundamentalism may appeal to people living in postmodern society as there is more anomie, and the simple messages which appeal to traditional values offer a sense of certainty and identity to people who may feel lost and without purpose.
- In some cases radicalised individuals have travelled to countries like Syria in order to become part of fundamentalist movements.
- The internet has also made it easier for fundamentalist groups to gain funding through cryptocurrency, meaning it is harder for governments to cut off funding for them, giving them more power.
- Such groups can make use of encrypted apps such as Telegram to discuss strategy and recruit members making it more difficult for governments to prevent terrorist attacks, and this is such a serious matter there is currently an online privacy bill going through parliament that may make Whatsapp illegal in the UK.
- Another indicator of how serious a threat to social change fundamentalism may be is the PREVENT agenda in schools, designed to protect British Values from radicalisation.
Globalisation undermining religion and social change
- one aspect of globalisation is increasing amounts of cultural diversity as ideas and people migrate from country to country.
- This means in the UK for example that we now have several religions rather than one.
- This undermines the capacity of the Church of England to claim that it has a monopoly on the truth and thus undermines its ability to compel people to act in its name.
- We saw this in the attitude of religion during the King’s Coronation, with all of the religious aspects looking outdated and a little bit silly which was broadcast to a global audience via the media.
- State religion now seems like something that is for entertainment and a choice rather than something with the power to change society.
- When there are many religions competing with each other it becomes more obvious that there are religious truths rather than one truth and the State increasingly focuses on how to create a society in which multiple religions can get along without conflicting rather than the state allying with one religion as a powerful source for social change.