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

Religion can be both a conservative force and an initiator of social change to what extent do sociological arguments evidence support this view of religion.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

?Religion can be both a conservative force and an initiator of social change? to what extent do sociological arguments evidence support this view of religion. There are many different views on whether religion is a conservative force or an initiator for social change or both. Functionalists, Marxists and Feminists have generally disagreed with the idea that religion can cause social change in society, although, their views do differ. They believe that religion acts as a conservative force, i.e. that it prevents social change. Although both Functionalism and Marxism offer a argument of religion?s role in society, many are critical of such views, like Neo-Marxists and Max Weber, arguing that religion does not act as a conservative force, but acts as a radical force instead. Functionalists see that religion acts as a conservative force. Religion is seen by functionalists as part of the culture or way of life of a society, and it helps to maintain cultural traditions and establish the basic rules of social life. Religious beliefs, such as totemism, and attending ceremonies and rituals, binds people together and building bonds between them. Creating social stability and a social solidarity. In maintaining social solidarity, religion acts as a conservative force. ...read more.

Middle

He calls this ?the opium of the people?. Marxists believe that religion which eases the pain of oppression and exploitation in 3 main ways. Religion makes Working class believe that suffering in this life is ok because they will be rewarded later. this prevents proletariat from wanted to change. (Compensation). Religion encourages people to accept their position because of the fear of being punished if they didn?t follow instructions can encourage not act to change society. (Social control) and Religion provides a religious reasonable explanation and for inequality. For example, the Hindu religion provides a religious justification for the inequalities of the Indian caste system and an individual?s position in the social hierarchy. Therefore, religion teaches to respect those in power (Agent of legitimation). However, like Functionalism, Marxism fails to consider secularisation. The ideological power of religion is undermined by the fact that less than 10% of people attend church. Therefore Religion is not a form of social control and does not keep things traditional. Many sociologists argue that there have been many examples of religious movement proving that religion bought about radical social change. ...read more.

Conclusion

They believe that by working, they are worshipping god. This ascetic life would demonstrate Gods favour and therefore you ultimate place in heaven. Weber argued that these idea helped initiate western economic development through the industrial revolution and capitalism and therefore create social change. Weber suggests religions and other authority take one of two forms. One form is a charismatic leader in which people obey a religious leader because of their personal qualities e.g. Jesus. Another form is traditional, in which those who exercise a tradition and support the preservation and continuation of existing values and social ties. These authorities give orders and expect to be obeyed. For example, In 1979 the Shah of Iran was deposed by a revolutionary Islamic group led by the Ayatollah Khomeini who opposed the westernisation of Iran. Khomeini was quick to set up a model Islamic state based on ancient Sharia law. In conclusion, religion can be both a conservative force and an initiator of social change. This essay contained information on functionalists, feminists and Marxists and their argument that religion is a conservative force although they differ from each other. On the other hand, Neo-Marxists and Max Weber saw religion as a force for social change. ...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. Peer reviewed

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

    4 star(s)

    This change led to the breakup of small communities and in some places ones which were isolated (could be classed as back in time). Industrialisation was destruction to the norms which dictated to previous behaviour. This resulted in a collapse of social solidarity and collective consciousness.

  2. Free essay

    Is religion a conservative force or a force for social change?

    proletariats ability to see their real situation, which in turn prevents social change. Marx said that religion was the 'Opium of the people', which dulls the pain of oppression to prevent social change. Because religion functions to the benefit of the bourgeoisie, it justifies social inequality.

  1. Is social change evolutionary or revolutionary?

    Parsons argued that any social system has four functional prerequisites. Goal attainment, integration, latency and adaptation can be seen as problems that society must solve in order to survive. The functional prerequisites are interrelated and the change in one produce change in others in order to return society back to a state of equilibrium.

  2. Assess the nature and extent of secularization in society today. Evidence surrounding church attendance ...

    Casanova (1994) believes that disengagement has not taken place, but differentiation has- explaining why secularization has occurred. He claims that during the entire decade of the 1980s it was hard to find any serious political conflict anywhere in the world that did not show behind it the not- so hidden hand of religion.

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

    Overall functionalists opinion is that instead of religion being a radical change, it is conservative and keeps society remaining the same. However people would criticise functionalists views by saying that church attendance is declining in the UK, so it's difficult to see how religion can be functioning to socialise members, so therefore its promoting change.

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

    Aesthetic surgery serves as an active example of medicalisation, with consumers actively seeking out procedures from medical doctors to conform to society's perceived image of beauty (Waggoner and Stults, 2010). To summarise; medical interventions, policies and treatments are encroaching on the private lives of women to gain control, using their

  1. Introduction to social policy-To what extent is social policy fair?

    social policy and racism, which was the importance of the construction of notions of the nation, social policy and citizenship, which was categorised by increasing exclusion of certain categories of people, this evidence therefore also supports the idea that Social Policy is not fair with reference to race and ethnicity.

  2. The main function of religion in society today is to dull the pain of ...

    It was also thought that religion helped to justify social order. For example in the song ?all things bright and beautiful? it was stated that ?god made them high and lowly and ordered their estate? suggesting that God had already chosen your status for you so social hierarchies appears inevitable and those at the bottom should accept their situation.

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