• 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 Religion & Social Change

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Evaluate Sociological Explanations of the Relationship between Religion & Social Change The relationship between religion and social change has forever wielded many sociological explanations attempting to comment on this ambiguous issue. While some favour the view religion does indeed promote social change (Weber), others argue religion inhibits social change (Durkheim). Firstly it's important to understand what is meant by the concept social change. From a sociologists view point, social change in terms of religion can be used to change the politics, economics, or values of a society. This can be illustrated from a contemporary standpoint by reflecting on the Buddhist monks in Burma. These monks are using their religious and spiritual beliefs to change the society they live in. Speaking from a more historical context however, we can see that the religions of Ghandi, Martin Luther King and Mother Teresa, have been used and some may argue exploited; to change wider society. ...read more.

Middle

Of course there are certain examples of this which support Marxist theory, the fact religion prevented a revolution in the 20th century was 'keeping the working classes in check' and this further supports their view religion is a conservative force which favours the ruling classes and inhibits social change. However, critically speaking Marxist theory like Functionalists theory doesn't take into account mass examples where religion has been used to promote social change, Liberation theology, French and Russian revolutions in the 20th century, The Taliban in the middle East - all ways in how religion has cased social change and all ways Marxist theory on religion can be disproved. Max Weber (The Protestant Ethic & the Spirit of Capitalism 1958) was sympathetic to the fact religion can be used as a conservative force but noted how it could be used radically as a vehicle for social change. Calvinists were a seventieth century protestant sect that believed in pre destination, this was only the elect was to reach heaven. ...read more.

Conclusion

a way they can justify, this can therefore lead to sociologists questioning the nature of the social change, and whether it can be tightly tied to religion may be hard to measure. Finally post modernists see religion as an indicator in social change arguing the change in religion reflects the shift from modernity to post modernity. Post modernists see society in constant change where there are no absolute truths, the decline in rationalism and growth of religious pluralism undermine the traditional community dimension of religion. They see the very rise of post modernity the resurgence of religion and the many ways some religions can be conservative or radial based on culture or location. The relationship between religion and social change has forever been of great sociological debate but with the emergence of post modernism and the many new religions forming it compels us to contemplate new definitions of religion, most of which contribute a radical or conservative force in society either inhibiting or promoting social change ?? ?? ?? ?? Jason Kane ...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

Here's what a star student thought of this essay

4 star(s)

Response to the question

The writer definitely answers the specific question asked, as they explain how religion can be viewed as both a conservative force and as a radical force for social change. By referring to both arguments, lots of evaluative points can be ...

Read full review

Response to the question

The writer definitely answers the specific question asked, as they explain how religion can be viewed as both a conservative force and as a radical force for social change. By referring to both arguments, lots of evaluative points can be awarded, which is actually what the majority of marks in sociology are given for. Most candidates tend to forget that they need to continually evaluate; instead lots of people only write about sociological theories in a list fashion, which examiners hate. This essay is well structured, with an apt introduction and conclusion, which will get them a decent grade.

Level of analysis

This candidate clearly has a good all round academic knowledge, but occasionally they make a few mistakes that although seem minor, are actually vital to get right in order to gain more marks. An example that jumps out at me is: “Calvinists were a seventieth century protestant sect”, as it was a seventeenth century sect. I would also argue that the candidate needs to specifically explain liberation theology further – as it massively contributed to social change – because the point is vague, “Liberation theology was a fuse of Christianity and Marxism and was used to radically change society”. How was it used to radically change society? They should mention that priests educated peasants in order to help them get out of rural poverty in Latin America in the 1960s.
The candidate makes good use of contemporary issues/examples in relation to how religion has been a radical force for change, such as “Another example of fundamentalism promoting social change would be that of mainly Islamic groups. The September 11th attacks can be explained in terms of social and economic change”. This is in addition to historical social change, for instance Weber’s theory that Calvinism was a major influence in the creation of a new society, capitalism.
Sociological key terms, “Liberation theology” and “religious pluralism” are mentioned, which is very good, because, in my experience, most candidates have a tendency to not bother with the terms that sound complicated. But the writer will be credited for weaving these so well into their essay.

Quality of writing

There are a fair few grammatical issues in this essay. There are random capital letters in the middle of sentences, “Industrialisation” and the wrong word is sometimes used, “off course” instead of “of course”. It also mentions “terrorist’s attacks” when it should simply be “terrorist attacks”. On the whole though spelling is good, although I did notice the writer abbreviated “September” to “Sept” which I think gives a bit of an informal (and perhaps lazy) impression. If this issues were corrected I think a slightly higher mark would be reflected.


Did you find this review helpful? Join our team of reviewers and help other students learn

Reviewed by cwhite 23/03/2012

Read less
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 sociological explanations of changes to the class structure

    4 star(s)

    As it will result in polarisation of the classes (there are two classes according to Marx, these are the Bourgeoisie (the ruling class) and the Proletariats (the workers)). However another theory from Mount(2004), who is a social commentator; he argued that British society has failed the poor and that society

  2. Identify current patterns of ill health and inequality in the UK. Explain probable ...

    * Region- Men and women in the northeast are more likely to smoke than in any other region in England, this is probably mainly due to income deprivation with the North being affected by this the most out of the whole of England.

  1. Assess the extent to which religion produces social change. Many sociologists such as functionalists ...

    For example Halely argues that Methodism distracted the working class from their class inequalities by encouraging them to see enlightment in spirituality rather than religion. Overall Marxists claim that religion distracts the working class from noticing class inequalities so therefore prevents change, so is therefore a conservative force.

  2. Use sociological terminology to describe the principal sociological perspective

    well, as they emphasize the role of the nation or the state over individuals. However, Fascism and Nazism have Social Darwinism, which is anti-collectivist and leans toward individualism, as core tenants as well as collective nationalism. Democracy, with its emphasis on notions of social contract and the collective will of

  1. The education system is meritocratic

    a story then teachers are story tellers and as narrative changes over time teachers can never really prepare you for life this proves according to them that a meritocratic education system can not exist as it is designed to sift and sort people into their roles in society and if

  2. Sex is biologically determined, however, is gender the product of social construction or predetermined?

    Margaret Mead did a classic study of three tribes in New Guinea, she found extensive differences in sex-roles and gender behaviour. The Apapesh community of both men and women were compassionate and caring which showed characteristics of females. The male and female tribe of Munduguors were harsh, violent and aggresive showing male characteristics.

  1. Nature vs. Nurture Feral Children

    Kamala and Amala (found 1920) - Two girls who were allegedly captured from a pack of wolves in a wild region of Calcutta, India. The girls were thought to be aged about eight and two. According to their rescuers the girls had misshapen jaws, remained on all fours, enjoyed

  2. Assess the usefulness of interactionist approaches to the study of society

    He argued that deviant behaviour is behaviour that has been labelled deviant or defined deviant. The reaction of others to a particular action therefore shapes whether an act is deviant or not. Wearing a specific type of clothing or speaking in a particular way may be seen as deviant in one group, but the norm in another.

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