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

Evaluate the view that Religion acts as a conservative force in modern society.

Extracts from this document...


Evaluate the view that Religion acts as a conservative force in modern society. Within the sociology of religion there have been many debates over whether there is a relationship between Social change and Religion. Many perspectives in sociology discourage the idea that Religion acts as a conservative force but there is much evidence given by the likes of Marxism and Feminism which support the idea that Religion acts to prevent social change. It may seem unfair to count Religion as a whole, considering that it does embody so many different opinions, beliefs and rituals. If we did judge Religion in its entirety then we could say it acts a force for change and as a conservative force at the same time, in modern society. Sociologists may also analyse how Religion has developed, for example, new Sects and Cults have very different views at times, which we cannot underestimate. Feminism is one perspective which agrees that Religion acts a conservative force in modern society. They believe Religion justifies Patriarchy and all dominance over women. For example, in Christianity 'God' is often described as male and Eve was made from a part of Adam for the role of 'helpmate'. ...read more.


It is clear that there is evidence to support the Marxist view that Religion acts as a conservative force in Modern society as it supports the powerful and justifies the position of the masses. There is, however evidence which suggests that Religion can encourage a social change. Functionalist theories have seen Religion as a stabilizer for society. Religion encourages value consensus, strengthens social solidarity and deals with life crises. The collective conscience, according to Durkheim, reinforces the norms and values of society which are bound together by Religious rituals which the masses take part in to uphold social stability. Malinowski believes religion reduces stress which results from events which threaten social live, like life crises (Birth, puberty, marriage etc). Stress's which are brought on by a funeral may be overwhelming, but with Religion their emotions as a collective are stabilized by a promise of an after-life. Without this balance, emotions may become uncontrollable leading the masses to take 'emotion action' which could mean as much as a revolution to find answers they now crave, as Religion fails to justify their position in society. ...read more.


It is clear that most theories believe that Religion acts a Conservative force which seeks to keep Status quo. Marxism emphasizes that the Religion will always justify the mass's position and the Ruling class's false promises. Functionalists highlight value consensus and social solidarity caused by Religion. Feminism provides evidence that Religion acts to maintain Patriarchy as is still doing this. The one who would disagree with these claims the most is Max Weber who would argue that Religion acts in the opposite way, seeing it as a radical force for change. Geoffrey Nelson argues that throughout history their have many changes to society which have been governed by Religion. For example, the 'Peasants' revolt was lead by a Priest (John Ball) and his reason for this revolt was God driven for the fight for the equality of the poor. However, Nelson also shows that Religion can act as a conservative force. Using, again, the Peasants revolt, although lead by a priest, many churchmen and lords condemned the rebellion. This proves that Religion can act as both a conservative force and a force for change. It all depends on time, place and the type of Religion. ?? ?? ?? ?? Matthew Proctor ...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. Peer reviewed

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

    5 star(s)

    are, in essence, just more complicated versions of these basic communities and they still have the same basic needs/requirements. Durkheim studied the aboriginal religion of totenism whereby certain clans associated themselves with certain objects imbued with sacred powers (birds, animals, plants)

  2. Assess the view that religion acts as a conservative force on society.

    Although Durkhiem provides us with a lot of positive views about religion, some sociologists would criticise theory on religion as he mainly studied pre industrial society, his ideas cant really be applied to complex society were there is different people all on different walks of life.

  1. Evaluate the view that religion acts as a conservative force in modern society.

    They are beliefs, culture of society, and social location of religion and internal organisations of religious institutions. Functionalists and Marxists dismiss the possibility that religion can cause changes in society. They believe religion acts as a conservative force and that it is in changes in society that shape religion and not vice versa.

  2. Is religion a force for social change?

    Durkheim's view of religion as social change inhibiting comes from a belief that religion brings people together, integrating them into society and preventing them from trying to change society in any way. He sees this as a good thing, as he looks only at the harmonious side of religion and

  1. Evaluate the view that religion acts as a Conservative force in Modern society

    In this way religion is a measure of moral guidance and it generates consensus through an appropriate set of values and functions that hold society together. However opposing this viewpoint is that of the Marxists who are the counter and the competing mainstream sociological viewpoint.

  2. Functionalist views on Religion.

    Religion offers a compensator. Compensators are a type of IOU - if individuals act in a particular way, they will eventually be rewarded. In the absence of immediate rewards, people are likely to turn to compensators. Since religion answers universal questions and offers compensators that meet universal human needs, religion can neither disappear, nor seriously decline.

  1. How far is religion a radical or a conservative force?

    Both Marx and Durkheim believed that religion had a social function of control and that religion gives meaning to people's lives. Durkheim distinguished between the sacred and the profane he believed that religion gave people a social identity and a sense of social integration and sharing, Durkheim laid emphasis on morality, he believes that this reinforces the collective conscience.

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

    The more religion became book-religion and doctrine, the more literary it became and the more efficacious it became in provoking rational lay-thinking, freed of priestly control. However, there is no ''unbroken'' religion working as a vital force which is not compelled at some point to demand the credo non quod,

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