Sociology- Beliefs in Society (Theories)


Mind Map on Sociology- Beliefs in Society (Theories), created by Rachel Pearce on 01/10/2015.
Rachel Pearce
Mind Map by Rachel Pearce, updated more than 1 year ago
Rachel Pearce
Created by Rachel Pearce over 8 years ago

Resource summary

Sociology- Beliefs in Society (Theories)
  1. Functionalism
    1. Macrostructural (structure over individuals)- like Marxism
      1. Based on a value consensus- unlike Marxism
        1. Modernist theory unlike PM
          1. uses the organic analogy to describe society - society is like an organism = also a system of interrelated parts.
            1. These parts work together to fulfil basic needs as a body would. The social institutions are responsible for meeting these needs + contribute to maintaining the social order.
            2. Durkheim
              1. religious institutions play a central role in creating+ maintaining consensus, order + solidarity. Key feature of religion is not its beliefs but a fundamental between what was sacred and profane found in all religions
                1. Sacred = awe, fear wonder surrounded by taboos. Profane= ordinary + mundane, no special significance. He believed these sacred symbols represented society as it is the only thing which could evoke such feelings in believers.
                  1. When they worship these symbols they are worshipping society itself. All sacred symbols perform the essential function of uniting believers into a single moral community despite them differing between religions
                2. Sacred symbols represent society's collective consciousness (shared norms, values, beliefs + knowledge that make cooperation between individuals possible) Without this society would disintegrate and become chaotic
                  1. Also shared rituals reinforce collective conscience + maintains social integration. Reminds people the power of society + that without it they would be nothing. Religion makes us feel apart of something greater than ourselves thus it helps strengthen us to face life's trials.
                    1. Analysis was largely based on Totemism, the aboriginal clan society where members have various duties towards each other and clans worships their clan's sacred totem through rituals. Shared experience renews individual membership to society as it raises their awareness of the common situation
                      1. Thus strengthening the bonds between them, in this respect religion mains solidarity. Rituals also ensure individuals don't deviate from society's norms, makes order possible = actions are predictable
                  2. AO2
                    1. Evidence of totemism is unsound = Worsley- there is no sharp divide with sacred + profane, also some clans shared totems
                      1. Even if it is sound it doesn't mean he's discovered the essence of all religions today
                      2. Harder to apply to large scale societies that have religious pluralism. May be more applicable to small scale ones.
                        1. PM- can't generalise to advanced societies where religions are in conflict = no harmonious. Northern Ireland Catholic vs. Protestants
                          1. Can't explain how this has happened - if individuals are socialised to have the same beliefs then how have other religions grown in society? - UK was Christian but can't be regarded as one now despite majority being Christian (from about 75% to 59%
                          2. PM- also argue the increasing diversity in societies has fragmented the collective consciousness = no longer a shared value system for religion to enforce.
                        2. Parsons
                          1. Like Malinowski, he sees religion helping people cope with unforeseen events + uncontrollable outcomes
                            1. Religion provides primary source of meaning for society's members + legitimises society's central values (thus promoting solidarity + stability)
                            2. It provides + legitimises society's basic norms + values by sacralising them
                              1. e.g. Protestantism in the USA , sacralises core American values of individualism, meritocracy + self-discipline, all of which promote consensus + stability
                              2. He expands Malinowski's idea of religion helping individuals in life crisises
                                1. Religion provides a primary source of meaning = answers ultimate questions of human condition e.g. suffering, death. Prevents such events undermining our commitment to society's values. Explains them as a test of faith, helps individual adaptations + maintenance of stability
                                2. AO2
                                  1. Weber argues people look to more rational explanations since Enlightenment period
                                    1. Evidence of secularisation suggests religion doesn't provide meaning in people's lives as it did before e.g. only 59% are Christian, increase in divorce
                                  2. Malinowski
                                    1. Agrees that it promotes solidarity but claims it does this by performing psycho. functions to help individuals cope with emotional stress that would undermine solidarity
                                      1. Identifies 2 situations where religion performs this role:
                                        1. 1st- when outcome is important but uncertain. He found Trobriand Islanders would perform rituals before fishing in the open sea, as success and even survival was uncertain. These rituals increased their sense of control, diminished anxiety + unified the group.
                                          1. 2nd- times of life crosses e.g. birth, puberty, marriage + death. It minimises disruption e.g. funeral ritual reinforce solidarity among survivors.
                                          2. AO2
                                            1. Some claim he focuses took much on rituals helping people cope with stress. Hamilton= they simply maintain pretige in society, have little to do with cementing solidarity + minimising disruption
                                          3. Bellah
                                            1. Like Parsons he is interested in how religion unifies society especially multi faith one e.g. America. he argues there is an overarching 'civil religion' in american society
                                              1. a belief system sacralises attached qualities to society itself This helps integrate society in a way individual religions cannot. While none of the many religious organisations can claim loyalty to America, civil religion can.
                                              2. American civil religion involves loyalty to nation-state + belief in god, both of which are equated with being a true American.
                                                1. It is expressed in various rituals, symbols + beliefs e.g.pledge of allegiance + Lincoln Memorial. Also with phrases such 'One nation under God'
                                                2. AO2
                                                  1. Is civil religion really religion, if not it can't be a valid explanation of religion's functions in society
                                                  2. Binds people of different social + ethnic backgrounds = serves as a better mechanism for solidarity
                                                  3. AO2
                                                    1. Teleological- explains existence of things in terms of its effects. A real explanation identifies its cause
                                                      1. Neglects to look at negative aspects
                                                    2. Marxism
                                                      1. Modernist theory unlike PM
                                                        1. Macro- structural like functionalism
                                                          1. Based on conflict of interests unlike functionalism
                                                          2. We live in a capitalist society = split into 2 classes. Bourgeoisie + proletariat
                                                            1. Proletariat are exploited by bourgeoisie, makes them do tiresome labour + then taking the surplus value so they must continue to work
                                                              1. under false class consciousness- think it is fair + equal. Created by ruling class ideology, (e.g. belief of meritocracy)
                                                                1. Must gain class consciousness + cause a revolution to create a classless communist society
                                                              2. Religion as ideology
                                                                1. it is a form of mystification- distortion of real relationships with people + inanimate objects. Via. religion humans project human characteristics onto impersonal forces of nature
                                                                  1. Create gods who control nature; rendering nature potentially open to human manipulation through prayer/ sacrifice
                                                                  2. operates as an ideological weapon for bourgeoisie, legitimates suffering of poor as inevitable
                                                                    1. Misleads the poor to thinking suffering is virtuous e.g. Christianity = easier for a camel to pass through the eye of the needle than for a rich man to go to heaven. creates false consciousness
                                                                2. Feminism
                                                                  1. Modernist theory unlike PM
                                                                    1. Based on patriarchy
                                                                      1. Personal is political
                                                                        1. Difference between sex diff. + gender diff.
                                                                          1. Liberal Feminists
                                                                            1. Radical Feminists
                                                                              1. De Beauvoir
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