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

Evaluate the contribution made by studies of sects and other religious movements to an understanding of the role of religion.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Evaluate the contribution made by studies of sects and other religious movements to an understanding of the role of religion. The role of religion was defined in many ways by the classical sociologists Marx, Durkheim and Weber. Each had a different perspective regarding religion and its place within society. Marx wrote from a conflict viewpoint, his main argument was that religion served as a conservative force, benefiting the dominant classes by systematically deceiving the exploited working classes. Religion, as Marx saw it, was keeping the proletariat "falsely conscious". As religion was based on ruling class ideology it prevented the working class from seeing that their problems would be solved only when alienation and exploitation were abolished. On the whole Marx believed religion was constructed as a means to suit the further growth of Capitalism hence also the Bourgeoisie. Marx predicted a social and political revolution conducted by the working class, they would no longer remain passive to their situation by believing the privileges of the dominant classes were "divinely ordained", God's will. ...read more.

Middle

This links in with the notion of secularisation, the decline of religion, and though early ideas on religion given by the classical sociologists help to understand how religion was defined, in contemporary society there is the ongoing debate that in fact religion is of less importance or the differing view that, perhaps, its even stronger then ever. There is much evidence to support and refute this idea, for example using statistics (positivist approach) there seems to be a drastic decline in church attendance figures, which is argued by Bruce to indicate secularisation. However, Grace Davie uses the phrase "Belief without belonging" which refers to people not necessarily having to attend an institution in order to be religious therefore, the figures are an unreliable form of measurement. Furthermore, Stark asserts that religion is not in decline simply because it was never that popular anyway, he claims that this golden "Age of faith" in the past did not exist. Whilst organised forms of religion may be in decline, there is the persistence of religion as suggested by the growth of new religious movements and fundamentalist groups. ...read more.

Conclusion

Heelas argued that some New age religions are in fact linked with capitalism and consumerism (e.g. cleansing crystals and therapy.) and some as a rejection of this (e.g. adoption of a simple way of living). This idea of capitalism and religion as almost being a product links to scientology, a large-scale business with members paying huge fees to "clear" their minds. Furthermore, in this pick and mix society there is evidently an entire global market regarding religious groups, wider choice and the ability to create your own identity. Here, functionalists would argue that religion is still on some level performing a function however, there is great controversy in society as to what people believe in and whether such beliefs should be regarded as religious at all. It is clear that the role of religion is ever adapting and changing, that different areas of the world hold different beliefs and that though on the surface religion may not seem apparent it is still greatly present in society. Anjana Chauhan ...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. Marked by a teacher

    Assess the contribution of functionalism to our understanding of the family.

    4 star(s)

    Their main views being that the family is patriarchal meaning it is male dominated and the notion of symmetrical conjugal roles is seen as a myth. Additionally the family has an ideological role, here they argue and reject functionalists view that socialisation in the family is beneficial for society, and

  2. Compare and contrast the Marxist and Functionalist explanations of the role of religion in ...

    Brian Turner used a Marxist Approach in his book "Religion and Social Theory" (1983). He agreed with Marx that religion comes from the economic infrastructure, but not that religion has a universal role in society today, nor that religion is always an important part of the ruling class ideological control.

  1. Defining religion.

    religion in modern industrial society o Parsons has argued that it's more a case of religion losing some of it's previous functions but retaining & specialising in a reduced range of social functions o Religion can be seen to have a role in the future, continuing to provide a set

  2. The Influence and Role of Religion In Hopi Society.

    All the clans are interconnected through the practice of ceremony and ritual. The Tobacco clan provides tobacco and pipes, the Badger clan provides roots for medicines, and the Sand clan provides sand for altars (Egan, 1994. p.11). Each clan provides a necessary component for conducting proper ceremonies.

  1. Evaluate the Contribution that Subculturalist theory has made to our Understanding of Deviant Behaviour.

    that working class boys attempted to emulate middle class values and aspirations. Due to their lack of means to achieve success, a status frustration developed from educational failure and dead end jobs. Cohen believes that a delinquent subculture is adopted as criminal paths are followed to achieve success with an alternative set of norms and values to mainstream society.

  2. Assess the contribution of sociological studies in the role of sects and other NRMs ...

    Wallis believes people are drawn to NRMs because of spiritual deprivation, they feel they have lost sight of their real self and feel quite lonely and are looking for a community companionship which today has been lost in most communities and in most societies so people have to look somewhere

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

    By means of intensified asceticism these folks hoped to enjoy the blissfulness of community with God in this life. Sometimes this latter tendency led to displays of emotion, which were antithetical to Calvinist restraint. Other than that, however, the practical effect of Pietistic principles was an even stricter ascetic control of conduct in the calling: 1)

  2. "Compare the presentation of the exploitation of women in "Memoirs of a Geisha" by ...

    Niang purposely makes sure that Adeline and her family are treated as outcasts "...we the have - nots, were allocated the second floor..." Niang's own mixture of heritage including her ability to speak French and her European background heightens her status this elitism is associated with the Americans, making her the envy of so many other Chinese women.

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