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

Compare and Contrast Functionalism and Marxist Theories of the Role of Religion These Two Different Ideas Try To Identify the Role of Religion.

Extracts from this document...


COMPARE AND CONTRAST FUNCTIONALISM AND MARXIST THEORIES OF THE ROLE OF RELIGION These two different ideas try to identify the role of religion. The two theories dicuss there argue their point on religion. The first main theory on the role of religion is the Functionalism theory. They have a large approach on society and link it towards the human body,which includes religion as a main function in society.They believe religion performs vital functions to balance society and creates the basis of the norms and values of society. This therefore according to functionalists promotes social order. There are three main contributors towards the fuctionalist theory. The most famous of these contributors is Emile Durkeim. Durkeim believed that religion was sacred and treated with respect this creates a social community which give out morals. As Durkeim was a functionalist Durkeim wanted to discover the functions religion provided for a society of anykind. He tried to analyse the Australian aborigines in Australia. He named their religion as "totemism". He found out that this was a basic form of religion and societies bonded on a clan basis. Each clan had its own totem which was regarded as holy. Durkeim believed as the totems only contained pictures of insignificant figures to the western world,so he believed there must be something else they believe. ...read more.


The other main theory to the role of religion is Marxism. Marxism is a also a large approach and sees society as base/superstructure. However Marxists believe that in today's society is based on conflict and exploitation rather than a peaceful society. Religion makes this society justify inequality and maintains ruling class domination. The main contributor towards the theory of Marxism is Karl Marx. Marx believed religion is a form of social "opium" which dulls oppressive pain and provides hope to the working class people who are being exploited. However in Marx's idea this is really a false hope and hides the true nature of a capitalist society. This therefore supports status quo and prevents any revolutionary change. Marx believed that religion is an ideology of society it sends out a false picture of what society is like which helps the ruling class exploit the working class even further. This is a false consciousness that stops them realising the situation they are in and stop them thinking about the own interests and ideas. In Marx's view religion is used by ruling class to control the working class and they control them in four ways. The first way is to make the working class believe that supernatural powers control the events on earth. ...read more.


Therefore religion is a vital cog for helping individuals and society Marxism is a conflict theory which believes that there is a conflict between the ruling and working classes. The ruling class exploit the working class. Marxists also split the economic base with the super structure,this justifies the existing mode of production which benefits the ruling class. This means that overall the religion has a negative consequence on individuals and the community itself. In conclusion the two points of view both have strong points but also weak points. The functionalism view is too positive and can not spot any flaws in our society, it is too keen to express their ideas on the good parts of the society but seem to be missing vital points on why religion can be bad for society. In some ways Marxism is completely the other way round. The Marxists are very critical of the role of religion about it being a safe guard for the ruling class it does express all the flaws but only concentrates on capitalism which makes Marxism limited in ideas. My belief is that a idea in the "middle of the park" would be better has it could express the good and bad points of the role of religion in our society. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...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. Compare and contrast the Marxist and Functionalist explanations of the role of religion in ...

    However, Bainbridge and Stark argue that people still do have a perpetual need of religion and new movements appear to fill the place left by those religions that no longer suit the needs of people. Bronislaw Malinowski was an anthropologist who conducted a famous study called "Religion and Magic" among

  2. Discuss the key concepts within, and state the similarities and differences between, the following ...

    [Haralambos & Holborn 6th ed.] The economy views productivity as its main goal, while the political system often legislates in favour of productivity and often concerns itself with improving material living standards and finally institutions, mainly the family and educational system, produce and teach the skills required to increase productivity

  1. Compare and contrast Marxist and Functionalist accounts of religion.

    Religion is a warning, a giver of justice, a provider of guidance and ultimate supernatural fear if one goes astray. Marx himself rejects any idea of supernatural aspect of religion. He describes religion as the "Heart of a heartless world"; The heartless world being the society moulded by capitalism.

  2. Marxism and Functionalism and their contribution to sport.

    Instead of enjoying the ride itself in the nature, horse-racing has become a competitive and very profitable industry for bookmakers as well as for established horse-racing television channels which have increasingly arisen. Making money out of horse-racing, the wealthy have established an upper class sport within the working class, as

  1. Main features of Functionalism.

    Each actor will come to expect certain responses from the other, so social rules or norms will develop, what Parsons calls a system of "status roles," develops, i.e. a network of behaviour to which expectations of behaviour and rewards and sanctions are attached.

  2. This essay will compare two different sociological perspectives Marxism and Functionalism through society and ...

    are not taken into consideration and neglected. The relationship between sports a society in a Marxist view, according to Coakley (2001) is never set once and for all, due to the changes of interests in the various groups of societies, as it based on shared values of existing conflicts and interests happening at the same time in society.

  1. The role of religion in society.

    Functionalists do not say that Religion doesn't change. its form certainly does. Parsons believed that religion was in differentiation, but what does not change is the function of religion in society and therefore supports the status quo. The culture of a particular political movement is parralelled with the collectivity of religious movements, ie, rituals like flag waving and

  2. Using the factual accounts of the sinking of the Titanic, compare and contrast how ...

    It is a very grand dinner, in the first class dining room, and Cal and the rest of his party try to humiliate Jack, because he comes from a poor background and has no money 'Mr. Dawson, well its amazing you can almost pass as a gentlemen'.

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