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

Analyse and Evaluate the relationship between religion and Social Change.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Mandip Dhillon Analyse and Evaluate the relationship between religion and Social Change. The relationship between religion and social change had been strongly debated in the past years, as more and more individuals have to a certain extent 'broken' away from the more traditional values shared in a once united society. Writers on religion tend to fall into on of two sides, ' those who see religion as a conservative force and those who see religion as a force for social change. This essay will examine, analyse and evaluate the two arguments. Durkheim, relates religion to the overall structure of the society, seeing it as acting as a conservative force. He based his work on a study of "Totemism," Australian Aborigines. A totem being an object, i.e. plant, animal or something with a deep symbolic meaning. He argued that it was these totems that presented the most basic form of religion. Durkheim then defined religion in terms of the sacred and the profane, the sacred being holy and spiritual and the profane the meaning directly the opposite. ...read more.

Middle

There fore religion can also be seen as a manner in which the individual is controlled, setting codes, for positive social change. Functionalists, Malinowski (1954) and Parsons (1965), view religion as functioning to relieve stress and anxieties created through everyday life, such as birth, puberty, marriage and death. Such events can undermine people's commitment to the wider society and as a result social order. Religion gives these events a meaning, helping people to come to terms with the change. Societies have 'evolved' religious 'rites of passage' ceremonies in order to minimise social disruption. For example at a death, families feel torn, angry and upset, however the funeral service gives them hope and makes them adjust to this new situation, be comforting them. Also the fact that mourning is then done in groups, it re affirms the fact that the group outlives the passing of particular individuals and is there to support its members. Marx, like Durkheim argued that religion was a conservative force in society, however he did not agree that this force was beneficial to society. ...read more.

Conclusion

All religions see their Gods as good. Being poor and living through poverty has a reward, 'salvation.' Such views promote the idea that there is no point in changing anything; there is no need for social change. Some revolutionaries, however have used religion in an attempt to change society, fore example in many Central and South American countries such as Guatemala, Chile and El Salvador where the police and military have been used to crush opposition, religion is the only remaining vent for opposition. This fusion is known as 'liberation theology.' Weber illustrates how religion, rather than being a conservative force, can initiate social change. Charismatic authority occurs when people are attracted by the ideas of a person who has a powerful personality and they then do what that person wants them to do. This brings about social change. For example, Adolf Hitler, who changed the world's political landscape. Religion has also had its share of charismatic leaders, such as Jesus Christ and Mohammed. Such charismatic leaders, who have had the power to influence others, causeing significant social change, have founded many religious sects. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Sociology 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 GCSE Sociology essays

  1. Functionalist views on Religion.

    Claim to provide access to supernatural or spiritual powers. * Accept the world as it is. They offer the follower the potential to be successful in terms of the dominant values of society by unlocking spiritual powers with the individual. * Followers carry on their normal lives * E.g.

  2. The Role of Religion As a Conservative Force and As an Indicator of Change.

    He claimed that the worship of worship of religion is essentially the unconscious worship of society and results in the reinforcement of values that the group shares and the binding of the group together. Religion therefore functions to promote social solidarity.

  1. Historical Interpretation of Economic-Social Change

    He felt that any deterioration in conditions was far outweighed by the benefits of industrialisation. A liberalist economist F.A.Hayek argued that whilst there is evidence that there was great misery there is no evidence to show that the misery was greater than before industrialisation.

  2. Is religion a force for social change?

    disregards any dysfunctions along with all historical evidence of the wars and deaths caused by religion. Glock and Spark, after studies of their own, claimed that religion can be as quick to promote social change as it is to inhibit it, and therefore religion can only be one small factor in the promotion and inhibition of social change.

  1. Defining religion.

    of core moral values Marxism o Clear & definite view of what was likely to happen o Convinced that the role of religion as a means of defence of ruling class interests o Once the ruling class had been moved & a socialist society introduced then the need for religion

  2. Max Weber: Basic Terms (The Fundamental Concepts of Sociology)

    This enterprise must be continuous, because in a capitalistic society, anyone who did not take advantage of opportunities for profit-making would be doomed to extinction. A capitalistic economic action rests on the expectation of profit by the utilization of opportunities for exchange, on (formally)

  1. Discuss the relationship between literacy, orality and sacred texts with particular reference to South ...

    She found that, when presented with a range of objects and asked to sort these, the unschooled children were less likely to generalise or present contrasting points of view. She took this as evidence that speakers of an oral language rely more on context for communication and on imitation for learning.

  2. Do you get it? If not youll want to - Salvador ...

    Shortly after in 1929, Dali was firmly embraced by the Surrealists, however was apprehensive about the group because of the restraints he felt they would impose on his creative energies. Gala, his lifelong muse, lover and inspiration in many pieces of work warned him that the Surrealists would place restraints on him that his father did.

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