• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Assess the extent to which Marxists & Feminist theories help our understanding of religion in society

Extracts from this document...


´╗┐Assess the extent to which Marxists & feminists theories help our understanding of religion in society. 33 mark Marxists is a structural conflict theory who believes that society is divided into two classes, the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. Marxists believe that religion is an ISA that reinforces false class consciousness as the bourgeoisie are favoured by the effects of capitalism and use means of production to exploit the proletariat which causes hegemony. Feminism is also structuralist conflict theory, However they believe that regard religion as a patriarchal institution and its beliefs function as a patriarchal ideology and therefore legitimise female subordination as the system is male dominated. Marxists see religion as an ideological weapon used by the bourgeoisie to exploit the working class and distort their perception of reality as it tries to justify the suffering by making them believe it was God-given. Religion makes the working class believe their suffering is virtuous and they will be rewarded it the afterlife. For example, in accordance to Christianity, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven. ...read more.


However this view is rejected by Althusser as he believes the concept of alienation is unscientific as human beings have a ?true self?. Marxists show how religion can be viewed as a tool of oppression that?s masks exploitation and creates false class consciousness. However, he ignores positives functions that religion provides such as the psychological adjustment to misfortune, which Neo-Marxists see as assistance rather than a burden. However Marxist Feminist Simone de Beauvoir believes religion reinforces the needs of capitalism when therefore reiterates the role of a housewife for women. She believes that religion cushions the effects of capitalism by representing women in mother and carer roles. For example the Church provides mother and toddler groups to help socialise their children, however this emphasises gender roles within society that women should be the child bearer and take up any jobs involved with childcare, this idea is strengthened further by the Pope as in the year of Madonna he said all women should not work. Radical feminists believe religion reinforces patriarchy through legitimating male authority, power and control. They believe that religious organisations tend to be male dominated despite the fact that women participate more in these organisations. ...read more.


For example Muslim women were the hijab, although this is seen as a form of oppression to some feminists, to the wearer it may symbolise resistance to oppression and liberation that enables them to enter the public sphere without losing their culture and history. Armstrong also argues that women have not always been subordinate to men in religion and that early religions placed women at the centre. However from about 4000 years ago, the rise of monotheistic religions saw the forming of a single, all powerful male God and prophets such as Jehovah and Abraham. This view is also supported by El Saadawi as she argues that religion is not the direct cause of the subordination of women and that it is a result of patriarchal forms of society coming into existence in the last few thousand years. For example, men reinterpreted religious beliefs in ways that favoured patriarchy and therefore religion now oppresses women. Marxism and Feminism are conflict perspectives, however they both highlight the ideological functions of religion differently. Marxists see religion as dulling the pain of false class consciousness and also as a form of ideology that is a response to alienation whereas feminists see religion as an instrument of patriarchy. This is a set of beliefs and practices responsible for women?s subordination. However is argued that religion is not always patriarchal. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Sociological Differentiation & Stratification section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Sociological Differentiation & Stratification essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Assess the usefulness of feminist contributions to our understanding of society today

    4 star(s)

    However, they fail to reflect the diversity of women's experiences and they exclude other women and their problems. Poststructuralism is concerned with discourses and power/knowledge. Discourses are ways of seeing, thinking or speaking about something. Postructuralists argue that the Enlightenment project is simply a discourse.

  2. Peer reviewed

    Evaluate the Contribution Marxists Have made in Understanding the Role religion plays in Society

    3 star(s)

    Weber expresses a more favored opinion towards the role of religion in society. He sympathized with Marx's theory that religion maintains the status quo but also argued it can bring about social change and revolution. This can be illustrated by Gandhi using his religious beliefs to widely change the society for him and his followers.

  1. Critically examine the relationship between gender, religious participation and religious organisations

    to be in moral decline, and therefore join introversionist sects that separate themselves from the world. This evidence suggests that women are more likely to experience poverty and deprivation than men, and therefore join sects to try and improve their situation.

  2. Sociological Theories

    Emile Durkheim has stated that "by respecting the school rules, the child learns to respect rules in general, that he develops the habit of self control and restraint simply because he should control and restrain himself" (Horalambus and Holborn, 1990.

  1. Gender Roles

    they have both grown up with equal gender opportunities, women being allowed to get an equal education and career. I think that within these areas what may seem as equal is still affected due to gender; for example many men stick to traditional values and do the manual jobs within

  2. The Bad Side of Feminists. Nowadays, fewer women want to claim themselves as ...

    Does this make the woman a feminist? She wants to show that the men and women have equal powers, and this does show a characteristic of a feminist. However the women agreed to go on a date which means that she is looking for a relationship with a man, and according to most feminists, wanting a relationship with men does not support the feminism views (Patai).

  1. Assess the usefulness of feminist contributions to our understanding of society today

    feminist view that it is the result of patriarchal oppression by men. Instead, as Marxists, they see women?s subordination as rooted in capitalism. For Marxist feminists, women?s subordination in capitalist society results from their primary role as unpaid homemaker, which places them in a dependant economic position in the family.

  2. This essay will evaluate three groups within society; the Feminists, Postmodernists and the Marxists, ...

    Parsons (1951, cited in Long-Crowell, 2016) sick role states that a person should be released from their normal obligations and responsibilities (no work or school), that they deserve sympathy as they are not responsible for their illness and that they should seek medical help if the condition is serious.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work