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'Durkheim's view that religion reinforces the conscience of society is more appropriate to an understanding of small non-literate societies than it is to modern diversified societies'.

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'Durkheim's view that religion reinforces the conscience of society is more appropriate to an understanding of small non-literate societies than it is to modern diversified societies' Durkheim said that religion was a 'unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things, tat is to say, things set apart and forbidden - beliefs ad practices which unite into one single moral community called a church, all those who adhere to them'. This was the most useful and in-depth definition of religion, as it concentrates on religious practice and a central ingredient, it allows comparisons between societies to be made and it also does not question the truth of religious belief Durkheim believed that social life was impossible without the shared values and moral beliefs, which together form the 'collective conscience'. ...read more.


He conducted his research on the Trobiland Islanders, where before fishing in the sea, religious ceremonies were conducted. Malwinowski disagreed that religion is the worship of society, but his research is similar to Durhkheim's, as it cannot be applied to western society. Parsons was another functionalist sociologist, but he described religion as a cultural system that 'provides more general guidelines for action in the form of beliefs, values and systems of meanings'. He believed that religion helped the consensus of society by establishing principles and moral beliefs, and that it can address problems in all societies. He used the example of the Ten Commandments, which are accepted by everyone as being 'right', but this is not true of many other cultures and societies. He also ignores problems between religions in the same society, and did not conduct any research at all. ...read more.


Turner did not think religion was important in modern society, as wealth is not just land ownership, and is often invested in the stock market, and other such things. Also he sees secularisation taking place, and therefore not producing the false class consciousness A completely opposite view of Functionalism and Marxism is that of Feminism, who see religion as having a base in patriarchal ideology. To see this, they say you only need to look at the bible, where most prophets and teachers, were male, in Timothy I in the bible, it says that no females should teach in the house of the Lord, and religious organisations allow gender inequalities through beliefs they develop in which women play a subsidiary role. Both Marxist and Feminist writers argue with Durkheim's belief that religion reinforces the conscience of society, and his research is undermined by the fact it cannot be used to help understand religions role in modern society, but only in small non-literate societies ...read more.

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