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

Functionalist perspective on religion

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Asses the view that sociological arguments and evidence support functionalists views of the role and functions of religions in contemporary society. The functionalist perspective on religion is that religion contributes to the fulfilment of social order and stability within society. The functionalists focus on the positive functions of society and what is needed for society to function accordingly. Emile Durkheim is one of the main functionalist sociologists; he argued that societies divide the world into two parts, the sacred and the profane. To argue his beliefs, Emile studied a religion called totemism in Australian aboriginal culture. In the totemism culture people for clans to which each clan has its own totem, which is their form of identification, (similar to that of religion as we know it, Christianity, Hindu, Jewish etc). The totem is a sacred symbol and is the object of worship. ...read more.

Middle

Yet he suggested that the ceremony of the funeral and the 'life after death' theory comforts the participants and furthers social integration. Malinowski also commented on the religious rituals such as fishing activities. Malinowski concluded that religious rituals functioned to reduce anxiety and provide a feeling of control. Another functionalist believer is Talcott Parsons; he believes that religion is an institution which is a significant contributor to the norms and values of society. Parsons argues that Religion helped form the value consensus which is needed for stability in society. Parsons expanded on this by adding that the Ten Commandments act as a moral and ethical foundation. Like Malinowski, Parsons expressed that Religion acts as a mechanism to come to terms with when people die, by restoring a normal pattern to life. Parsons commented on his belief that religion provides answers. ...read more.

Conclusion

Marxists believe that the promise of heaven and eternal life is to soften the blow of exploitation of their lives on earth. It gives the idea that those who suffer in misery will be rewarded in the end with heaven. A quote which coincides with this ideology is that of, " it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven". Both perspectives suggest totally different elements of religion. The Functionalists argue that religion is needed for society to function as it provides the norms and values, whereas on the other hand, the Marxist perspective argues that religion is a capitalist stunt to reinforce class inequalities. However, although both express different arguments, they both portray a similar aspect. Both perspectives suggest that religion and the 'eternal life of heaven' are used to comfort people during their life on earth. ...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 ...

    Marxism is criticised through the fact that some religions are revolutionary like the Levellers and Puritans, they rebel against the system and are not passive and docile. Also there has been a tradition of radical theology, for example in Latin America with the "Liberation Theory", this was the idea that

  2. This essay will explain the functionalist, Marxist and Social action theories of race and ...

    Capitalist nations typically use this 'reserve army' during periods of economic success and high employment, when there is a significant labour shortage. This process, further increases the divide between the rich and poor nations as these dynamic immigrants, who's childhood was paid for and maintained by their native land, are

  1. Defining religion.

    would disappear o Religion no longer having any social purpose - will wither and die Differences o Functionalists say it brings society closer Marxists say it keeps them apart due to w/c exploitation o Functionalists believe rituals are important to reinforce social solidarity Marxists say it's just a money making

  2. Organizational Perspectives on Stratification.

    He does concede (like Marx) the importance of economic classes in differentiation, but he focuses on the possession of property in the form of capital as the determining factor in life chances. People are also differentiated on the dimension of social honor or prestige, and people of similar prestige share

  1. Functionalist views on Religion.

    distorted * People tend to look on the bright side of things 'Man makes religion, religion does not make man' Marx 1844 Why? The answer is 2 fold: 1. Firstly because religion reproduces, maintains and legitimises class inequality. It is an ideological approach, which reflects the ruling classes interests and ideas- it benefits the ruling class.

  2. Assess the view that sociological arguments and evidence support functionalist views of the role ...

    He has also been criticised for overstating the collective conscience because some religions can go against society's values. Other Sociologists agree that religion helps reinforce social values but not that this means they are worshipping society his case is

  1. Analyze how Far From Heaven employ mechanisms of cinematic identification.

    Spectatorship is more complex than the simple in association with male or female spectators with masculine or feminine positions. Some psychoanalytic film theories have presumed that spectators are moving away from only identifying with the single narrative figure, and towards the claim that he or she engages in a more complex identification with the overall narrative.

  2. Evaluate Marxist and Functionalist Views of Religion.

    Durkheim suggested a religion could be seen as a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things. Parsons agreed with Malinowski that religion is addressed to particular problems that occur in all societies. Problems that disrupt society fall into two categories.

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