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The concept of "morality" has traditionally informed notions of respectability within capitalist society. With reference to sociological theory, critically evaluate how inequalities have materialised from such attitudes.

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Introduction

The concept of "morality" has traditionally informed notions of respectability within capitalist society. With reference to sociological theory, critically evaluate how inequalities have materialised from such attitudes. Particularly since the Industrial Revolution of circa 1790-1840 women have been subordinated in all walks of life by the patriarchal thinking of capitalist society. Humphries (1995) in Sociology 4th Edition looked at the traditional image of both men and women during the first half of the 20th Century and found that men were thought of as active, rational, less emotional and less sensitive whilst women were considered to be passive, irrational, emotional, weaker and more sensitive. During the first half of the 20th Century, women's social role was primarily within the home, showing a tendency towards domesticity, an instinctive predisposition towards nurturing and caring, being submissive towards and supportive of the male and having trivial interests. Women who had any role outside the home were generally in low paid, low skilled, part-time work. Men, however, traditionally held a social role outside the home and their position as father within the home was meticulously established and reinforced by women (Humphries, 1995 in Sociology 4th Edition). Therefore, patriarchy allows both sexes to defend the right to oppress and be oppressed. ...read more.

Middle

Emile Durkheim and Talcott Parsons, both world-renowned Functionalists, argue that greater inequality within society encourages more competition and, as a result, greater effectiveness. The relationship between capitalist interests and dominant religious beliefs has been formed over several hundred years. The occupational authorities of any country with multi-religious philosophies are overwhelmingly Protestant Christian. Furthermore, business owners and individuals with high grades of expertise, in addition to commercially trained people, would also prove to be Protestant. However, religious association is not the cause of economic conditions but may be a result of them. Gender inequalities within capitalist society have become accepted primarily because religious teachings encourage clear-cut moral standards that women ought to aspire to. Religious bodies bestowed the responsibility of guarding husband's and children's decency upon women. Sexual inequalities are not biologically established but are the unequivocal result of culturally determined gender roles within capitalist society. Religious scriptures and Bible texts predominantly underpin society's notions of morality. Countryman (1992) in Sociology 4th Edition found that biblical teachings about sexual behaviour are principally focussed in the direction of the control of women's conduct and have their foundations based in social unease about purity and property rights over women and children. ...read more.

Conclusion

Cahill (1996) indicates that Christian ethics may present convincing criticism of sexual and procreative activities, gender expectations and family forms, all of which dominate the female gender. Although Cahill (1996) indicates that this does not essentially suggest that gender differences are not inbuilt and grant the male gender power over the female gender in capitalist society, she adopts a feminist point of view, which tries to gain equal personal respect and equal social authority for both men and women. Karl Marx believed that human beings endure harsh conditions, prejudices and discrimination because of religious indoctrination. The Bible gives accounts that justify inequalities of wealth and power, accounts of suffering and teach attitudes of non-resistance, for example, "It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God" and "whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also". In conclusion, it appears that the English Reformation, the destruction of shrines and relics and the dissolution of the monasteries all participated together to suppress the religious houses and secularise their property. However, religious teaching have not been concealed by these occurrences and it would appear that the Church Universal and the ruling classes have been working in partnership to control humankind's morality since the early 16th Century. ...read more.

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