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

Evaluate sociological explanations of the relationship between gender and religious belief and practice.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Evaluate sociological explanations of the relationship between gender and religious belief and practice. Over the years sociologists have managed to come up with several different explanations to examine the relationship between gender, religious belief and practice. Issues to do with membership of different religious groups, changing forms of worship and belief, ethnicity, social class and age are just some of the issues that been brought up as a topic up for discussion. This essay will look to examine these issues and bring up a range of different views from perspectives such as feminism, functionalism, Marxism and post-modernism. According to functionalists, religion is one part of society's social institutions and the idea that they base there ideas on a value consensus results in their belief that religion integrates individuals into society. For Durkheim, religious institutions play a central part in creating and maintaining value consensus, order and solidarity; he believes that the key feature of religion is a fundamental distinction between the sacred and the profane which is found in all religions. ...read more.

Middle

He argues that the class that controls economic production also controls the production and distribution of ideas in society through institutions such as the church, the education system and the media. In his view, religion works as an ideological weapon used by the ruling class to justify the suffering of the poor as something inevitable and god-given. Marx also sees religion as the product of alienation. He sees religion as an opiate which dulls the pain of exploitation. Due to this belief that religion is a distorted view of the world, it can offer no solution to earthly misery, instead it promises of the afterlife to create an illusion of happiness that distracts attention from the true source of the suffering i.e. capitalism. This therefore suggests that religion is the new product of alienation; religion also acts as an ideology that legitimises both the suffering of the poor and the privileges of the ruling class. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, Woodhead criticises feminist explanations that simply equate religion with patriarchy an the oppression of women. She also argues that there are 'religious forms of feminism' ways in which women use religion to gain greater freedom and respect. For example, Woodhead says that whereas some see the veil worn by women as a form of oppression, to the wearer it may symbolise resistance to oppression. To conclude, there are various different perspectives and ideologies to explain religion. Whereas functionalist for example, see religion as a social institution, playing a central part in creating and maintaining value consensus, order and solidarity, Marxist see it as a an ideology distorting people's vision of reality and acting as an ideological weapon used by the ruling class to justify the poor as something god-given; these several explanations have been criticised and it would seem right to say that society is both benefiting and in other ways suffering from the relationship between gender, religious belief and practice. ?? ?? ?? ?? Sakaynah hunter ...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

    Outline and asses sociological explanations for workplace inequalities between men and women

    5 star(s)

    Pringle summarised that through intimidation and ideological power men are able to enforce the gender roles and sustain inequality within the workplace. However Pringle was criticised for paying little attention to the operation of the gender market as a whole.

  2. Peer reviewed

    Produce an essay identifying the different sociological approaches to secularisation with reference to Marxism, ...

    4 star(s)

    Furthermore Wilson and Webber both see Protestantism, contributing to rational thought. However Wilson does lean more on the scientific side as being the bigger influence to the decline in religion. He believes that scientific methods have displaced a lot of religious explanations.

  1. Asses sociological explanations for the increasing number of religions & spiritual organisations and movements ...

    'external' religions such as the churches and instead look inside themselves to find it. Also because of detraditionalisation the new age rejects the spiritual authority of external traditional sources such as priests or sacred texts. Instead it values personal experience and believes that we can discover the truth for ourselves and within ourselves.

  2. The characteristics of Post Modernism

    Countries are now both politically and economically interconnected e.g. the UK and America. Something that happens in one place will often affect somewhere else. The nation state i.e. the UK, is increasingly affected by decisions and laws made outside the UK e.g.

  1. Analyse and Evaluate the relationships between religion and social change.

    Feminism sees religion as it creates conflict and division through its patriarchal ideology. Feminism claim that religious institutions often exclude women from full membership by reference to particular interpretations of religious text. It is also seen that rituals often exclude women from full environment.

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

    The magical power of the earth seemed vitally interconnected with the mysterious creativity of the female sex." Armstrong concluded that there were very few effigies of males and the "mother goddess" always played a crucial role. However, the invasion of these societies by male-dominated cultures created a patriarchal rationale in order to justify their behaviour.

  1. Assess the view that religious beliefs and practices are changing to reflect a new ...

    Stark and Bainbridge argue that religion thrives in the USA because there?s never been a religious monopoly there but this differs in Europe. Therefore they conclude that the main factor influencing the level of religious participation isn?t the demand for religion like the secularisation theory suggests but the supply.

  2. Biological and Social Constructionist explanations of Gender development

    Leading on from gender and gender roles, we come to Masculinity and Femininity which are social constructions that are linked to cultural, historical, political and social aspects of gender relations. Masculinity is defined as the physical, behavioural, mental and emotional traits believed to be characteristics of males, as defined by the society or culture.

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