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

Assess the view that religion is a conservative force within society (40).

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Assess the view that religion is a conservative force within society (40). A number of sociologists argue that religion is a conservative force in society, that is, it produces stability not change within society and it reinforces the shared needs and values of society. For some sociologists this is a positive effect - the view of consensus theorists, for others it is a negative one - the view endorsed by conflict theorists. Durkheim is a consensus theorist, sometimes referred to as the father of functionalism, he supports the view that religion is a conservative force in society, reinforcing the existing society of society. He argued that religion should not be explained in terms of human ignorance, but as a result of shared social needs. He adopted a broad definition of religion throughout his analysis and defined it as a unified belief system of beliefs about the nature of sacred things. For Durkheim, shared religious belief systems were central to societal consensus as they set rules for social interaction and offered social solidarity and value consensus. In his book, "Elementary Forms of Religious Life", he examined the sources of order and stability in society and highlighted the part that religion played in sustaining this order. ...read more.

Middle

Religion emphasised the existence of an afterlife of eternal bliss - thus giving the oppressed something to look forward to - they felt that their treatment and the injustice against them would not matter when they died and went to heaven, and therefore they did not feel it necessary to rebel or disrupt the existing system as it was not encouraged by religion. Religion made a virtue out of the suffering produced by oppression, a virtue which made their present situation of poverty more tolerable as they knew they would be rewarded in the afterlife. Religion made the present more acceptable as it gave hope of supernatural intervention in the future when the problems on earth would be sorted out by God - the oppressed waited for this to happen instead of rebelling and overturning the system current at that time. The existing social order and hierarchy was justified as religion explained that it was decided by God. The oppressed accepted this philosophically as they believed there was nothing that they could do about it. Religion made the proletariats unsatisfactory lives bearable a it gave them hope in the future (in the form of an afterlife) ...read more.

Conclusion

on society as it helped capitalism to start off. Neo-Marxists dispute Carl Marx's original position and agree with Weber in saying that religion can produce social change. It is believed that Engels was the first to recognize that religion may be a vehicle of social change. This is demonstrated through looking back in time when early Christian sects resisted Roman rule - this shows that religion could be a source of resistance. A more recent account of the potential revolutionary force of religion is demonstrated in the following claim of the neo-Marxist Otto Manduro; Religion is not necessarily a functional, reproductive or conservative factor in society. It is often one of the main and sometimes the only available channel to bring about a social revolution. This claim is demonstrated by looking at; the Nationalist and Loyalist Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland, and the 1979 revolution in Iran when the Iranian royal family was deposed and Iran was turned into a strict Islamic fundamentalist state. It can be said that religion is a key agent of socialisation, that is, although it may cause a certain amount of change its primary effect on society is one of stability and cohesion. There are more cases of religion being a conservative force in society than there are of it being a radical one. - 1 - ...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

Here's what a star student thought of this essay

5 star(s)

Response to the question

The writer provides a good introduction, explaining consensus and conflict theories which are essential to understand in order to answer the question. It is correctly structured because it provides the Functionalist Durkheim’s views that religion is indeed a conservative force ...

Read full review

Response to the question

The writer provides a good introduction, explaining consensus and conflict theories which are essential to understand in order to answer the question. It is correctly structured because it provides the Functionalist Durkheim’s views that religion is indeed a conservative force (which the question asks for) and then continues to discuss theories of Marxism, Feminism, Calvinism and Neo-Marxism - so it addresses religion as a radical force also, therefore gaining lots of evaluative marks. This essay is well concluded, “There are more cases of religion being a conservative force in society than there are of it being a radical one” because the writer provides a final assessment of the question, coming to answer after considering both sides throughout. Overall this is already very impressive at GCSE level!

Level of analysis

Key terms are used correctly, “the elect”, “socialisation”, “revolutionary force” and are explained correctly, “...and the profane (not religious/secular)” which demonstrates sociological understanding. As this is essentially a purely theoretical question, the candidate does well to mention as many theories and theorists as possible, such as Durkheim’s “analysis of aboriginal society”. Usually Calvinism, Marxism and Neo-Marxism are poorly understood at GCSE so this essay is rather superior to lots I have seen – this candidate clearly knows them all inside out as they write a wealth of information about each one.
Different areas of the globe are discussed; “North of Europe” “Northern Island”, “Iran” which is refreshing because it shows that religion may be a conservative force in some countries but not others. Candidates tend to completely focus on the UK in Sociology, which decreases the amount of marks to potentially be awarded as sociology is the study of all different societies around the world.

Quality of writing

The writer has spelled the names of some key theorists wrong; it should be “Karl Marx” not “Carl Marx”, and “Otto Maduro” not “Otto Manduro”. Nonetheless these few mistakes would not lessen the overall high marks this essay would be sure to receive – it is very impressive at GCSE level and, to be honest, is just as good as lots of A Level essays I have seen. The quality of writing is quite good because the candidate uses a variety of punctuation, for example quotation marks and brackets, and also doesn’t make any major grammatical errors.


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

Reviewed by cwhite 14/09/2012

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 GCSE Sociology essays

  1. Functionalism and The New Right.

    Gender inequality is rooted in the capitalist system 2) Female oppression benefits capitalism: women provide cheap labour/reserve army of labour/ wives put pressure on men for success/rear the future labour force/'safety valve' for capitalism APPLICATION TO THE FAMILY APPLICATION TO THE FAMILY > Ideological conditioning service - the family serves the interests of the ruling class.

  2. Is money the root of all evil

    People in general love money; we love to own nice things and are excited when we are able to purchase that item we once dreamed about having one day. There are some, though, that have problems using it in the proper way.

  1. The classical and positivist approaches to criminological theory

    This also resulted in some degree of limitation on the administration of punishment, and can be interpreted to protect the freedom of individuals as much as is possible. It focuses on the causes of criminal behaviour, thus allowing concentration on those specific areas rather than the generality of the 'eye for an eye' punishment administration.

  2. Compare and contrast Karl Marx's and Michel Foucault's analysis of the concept power.

    and said to be embracing a model of liberation by rejecting, and overthrowing, capitalism and replacing it with the new ideas of a Communist society which would be the final stage of history . A prime example of this liberation model comes from the television series the "X Files" with

  1. Social Problems of Pakistan.

    There are not sufficient earning hands while the mouths to be fed are plenty. Jobs are scarce so the emplyoment condition isn ot in a very good shape either. Much man power is being wasted through unemployment, which further leads to frustration increasing the crime and violence rate.

  2. Discuss the concept of 'Double Colonization'; how do postcolonial women writers contest both patriarchy ...

    That takes us to the definition of a woman's language as put by irigaray in the essay 'a woman's language'. According to her a woman's language: "...has affinities with the dreams" She has identified the woman's language with the unconscious, the excess whose repression is necessary so that the conscious

  1. Functionalist views on Religion.

    Malinowski Malinowski sees religion as reinforcing social norms and values and promoting social solidarity. * Life Crisis Situations that produce anxiety and tension include crises of life such as birth, death etc. These life crises are surrounded by rituals e.g.

  2. How the film "Outsourced" shows the effects of culture shock on an American in ...

    Although Todd wants to stay at reserved hotel, Puro insists Todd living in his aunt own house. For Puro?s belief that Todd will fell comfortable and warming by receiving the care of aunti Ji. Therefore Todd is put into irritating manner.

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