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AQA Sociology A2 SCLY3 revision

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AQA Sociology A2 SCLY3 revision

  2. 2. Defining religion SUBSTANTIVE DEFINITIONS FUNCTIONAL DEFINITIONS SOCIAL CONSTRUCTIONIST DEFINITION SUMMARY Explain what religion actually is, unified system of beliefs relative to sacred things, Durkheim – things set apart and forgiven, Weber – religion is a belief in superior or supernatural power. What religion actually does, religion is a system of beliefs by means of which a group of people struggles with the problems of human life, contributes to society in terms of its social function,Yinger – religion performs functions for individuals such as answering questions about the meaning of life. Interpretivist approach – not possible to create a single definition since in reality different groups mean different things by “religion”, interested in how definitions are fought over. EVALUATION Conforms to a widespread view of religion as a belief in God, this leaves no room for practices that perform similar functions to religion but don’t involve belief in God. Inclusive, includes wide range of beliefs such as integration, don’t specify in a belief in God so no bias against religions such as Buddhism, however this doesn’t make it a religion. Don’t assume that religion always involves a belief in God or the supernatural, their approach allows them to get close to the meanings people give themselves, makes it impossible to generalise.
  3. 3. Defining religion (2) ■ 1711 – Swift – “We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love each other.” ■ 1843 – Marx – “Religion is the opium of the people.” Marx never studied religion in any depth, was heavily influenced by other thinkers, most notable Feuerbach. ■ Sociologist – Ybarra – “A Christian is a man who feels repentance on a Sunday for what he did on Saturday, and is going to do on Monday.” ■ Sociologist – Thompson – So many Gods, so may creeds, so many paths that wind and wind, while just the art of being kind, is all the sad world needs.”
  4. 4. Defining religion (3) Feuerbach – Alienation theory Humans create norms and values which, over time, they forget who created them The creation of these norms and values are attributed to God, but God isn’t human as he’s “alien” or other Religion leads to human self-alienation as we forget that norms and values are socially constructed and create stories and myths to explain them
  5. 5. Defining religion (4) Marx ■ Religion is part of the superstructure of society ■ Religion is an illusion which provides justification of inequality ■ Jesus said – “the meek shall inherit the earth” – this teaches us humility and non- resistance to oppression ■ The bourgeoisie uses religion to persuade the proletariat to accept exploitation ■ Marx and Feuerbach only looked at Christianity
  6. 6. Defining religion (5) Durkheim – totemism ■ Totemism represents religion in its most uncomplicated form ■ Where an animal or plant has a particular symbolic meaning for a social group, a sacred object respected by the group and surrounded by ritual ■ Sacred = objects to be worshipped e.g. the totem ■ Profane = every day, ordinary things ■ The totem has divine properties which separates it from other animals or plants ■ The totem is a symbol for the groups itself – it stands for the values central to the community which everyone respects ■ Therefore the object of worship is society itself
  7. 7. Defining religion (6) Weber ■ Studied world religions (those which have a major effect on world history) ■ Calvinists were amongst the first capitalists because they worked hard but they couldn’t spend the profit on themselves ■ They invested it in their businesses and they grew ■ This led to the growth of capitalism
  8. 8. Religion vs Science Comte ■ Developed the law of three stages as a way to understand how human understanding of our existence has developed through three distinct intellectual stages 1. The theocratic stage: a period of human history where everything is explained in terms of supernaturalism and religion. Subdivided into three other stages: 1) Animism – turning everyday objects into items of extreme religious purpose and worship. 2) Polytheism – the belief in may Gods. 3) Monotheism – the belief in one supreme deity or God. 2. The metaphysical stage: when philosophy started to attempt to explain the meaning of life. 3. The positive stage: a period where everything is given a scientific explanation based on observation, experiment and comparison.
  9. 9. Religion vs science (2) Lynch ■ Science is far less objective than what scientists claim it is ■ He studied scientists experimenting on lab rats and concluded that scientists were more influenced by their existing theories than they should have been ■ When anomalies occurred the scientists often put them down to errors in the photographs they were studying rather than seeing them as evidence to put towards a new theory or hypothesis
  10. 10. Religion vs science (3) Polanyi ■ A belief system is made up of three factors ■ Science can be viewed as fitting this model 1. A circulatory of beliefs: each idea within the belief system is explained in relation to others, if one is challenged or fails then it’s defended by reference to another to avoid changing the belief system. 2. Supporting explanations are given for different situations: if any evidence is shown to contradict the belief system there will be a reason to explain it. 3. No alternative belief systems can be tolerated: a sweeping rejection of religion could be seen as an example of this.
  11. 11. Religion vs science (4) Popper ■ Scientists should use the deductive approach and falsification ■ Deductive approach: starts with the theory which then leads to the investigation ■ Theories/hypotheses can spring from anywhere, such as flashes of inspirations or even from dreams ■ Positivists were wrong in their belief that theories could be proved to be true ■ Had a different idea of the scientific method…
  12. 12. Religion vs science (5) Popper continued… ■ Rejected the idea that there are permanent social laws governing human behaviour ■ Any law can be falsified at some point no matter how many times it’s been proved “correct” in the past ■ E.g. all swans are white – can be “proved” thousands of times until you encounter a black swan ■ The aim of science and social science should be to constantly strive to falsify theories ■ This falsification of theories arguably distinguishes science from religion and other supernatural beliefs
  13. 13. Religion vs science (6) Gomm ■ The theories scientists produce are in part a product of their social context ■ Scientists try to prove (rather than falsify) their theories ■ Suggests Darwin’s theories of natural selection and the competitive struggle for the survival of the fittest weren’t supported by all of the evidence ■ Darwin missed the opportunity to falsify aspects of his theory ■ Gomm suggests this is the reason why his idea was ideological rather than scientific ■ The survival of the fittest theory slotted neatly into theVictorian capitalist ideology of free market economics, individualism and the minimalist approach to welfare ■ Emphasises the importance of placing science in its social context ■ Scientific knowledge can be seen as socially constructed
  14. 14. Religion vs science (7) Kuhn ■ Introduced the idea that scientists work in a paradigm ■ Paradigm = the framework of accepted ideas in which scientists operate ■ Might include ideas on truth, validity and methodology ■ Scientists will tend to work within the paradigm and so seek evidence which supports it ■ This will continue until anomalies are so strong as to trigger a paradigm shift or a scientific revolution ■ When this happens a new paradigm is established and the process begins again
  15. 15. Different theories of religion Durkheim – Functionalism ■ Totemism ■ Studied Australian aboriginal societies ■ Each clan has a totem – a representative symbol ■ The totem represents society and God ■ By worshippingGod people are also worshipping society – society is the real object key to religious worship ■ An individual finds it easier to direct their respect towards a totem/symbol ■ Collective worship is important as it strengthens social solidarity and gives members a chance to talk and bond
  16. 16. Different theories of religion (2) Bellah – Functionalism ■ Religion is there to bind together members of a society by encouraging awareness of their common membership to an entity greater than themselves ■ Argued Americans were unified by values such as individualism and self-discipline ■ Any human group may be unified by a shared system of sacred beliefs and practices ■ What largely unified America was an overarching civil religion – a faith in Americanism ■ Though a nations civil religion wouldn’t necessarily involve supernatural beliefs, in American civil religion it does ■ American coins tell the world “In GodWeTrust, presidents swear an oath of allegiance before God, “God Bless America” ■ The faith of Americanism helps to unite the American people
  17. 17. Different theories of religion (3) Malinowski – Functionalism ■ Studied Trobriand islanders ■ Religion served to reinforce social norms and values, promote social solidarity and to ease emotional stress, tension and anxiety ■ When the limits of scientific knowledge are reached, religion and magic are turned to as explainers of the inexplicable ■ Religion transmits culture, tradition and belonging – science can’t give us this ■ Manifest function: the actual things we see e.g. ceremonies worshippingGod ■ Latent function: the hidden e.g. shared beliefs ■ When other institutions fail to do their job properly there may be a religious resurgence
  18. 18. Different theories of religion (4) Gramsci – Neo-Marxism ■ Hegemony – the control of one group by another ■ The R/C church has shaped the minds of its’ followers for centuries ■ Religious beliefs and practices can be popularised, especially to theW/C, to challenge the R/C ideology and support theW/C consciousness ■ Different periods of history saw popular forms of religion being formed which supports the R/C ideology
  19. 19. Different theories of religion (5) Maduro – Neo-Marxism ■ Religion remains a dominant and conservative institution ■ Religion has independence/relative autonomy from the economic system of the bourgeoisie ■ The oppressed find it impossible to protest against the central power and thus take their dissatisfaction to church ■ The aspirations of the oppressed may be reflected and voiced through a member of the clergy (local vicar) to express the discontents of the proletariat and strategies will then be devised on what courses of action to take
  20. 20. Social action theory Weber ■ Structural and action approaches are necessary for understanding human behaviour, arguing that an adequate explanation involves 2 levels: 1. Level of cause: explaining the objective structural factors that shape behaviour 2. Level of meaning: understanding the subjective meanings that individuals attach to their actions TYPE EXPLANATION Traditional action Action that’s custom or habit e.g. buying gifts at Christmas Affectual action Action that’s expressed by an emotional state e.g. crying at a funeral Value-rational action Action towards a goal the person regards as desirable e.g. praying to get to heaven Instrumentally rational action A highly rational form of action where people calculate the most efficient means of achieving a given goal
  21. 21. Religion and social change VIEW/EXAMPLE CONSERVATIVE FORCE OR FORCE FOR CHANGE? EXPLANATION Functionalism: Durkheim, Parsons, Malinowski Conservative force Religion promotes social harmony, social integration and social solidarity through the reinforcement of value consensus Marxism: Marx, Engels Conservative force Marx saw religion as part of the dominant ideology which shapes people’s view of the world and reproduces and reinforces false class consciousness among theW/C and the fact that they’re being exploited Neo-Marxist: Gramsci, Maduro Force for change Religion has the power to spark revolutionary change, e.g. Latin America – many priests began to break away from the Catholic church, claiming it was their God-given duty to help and liberate those who are oppressed
  22. 22. Religion and social change (2) VIEW/EXAMPLE CONSERVATIVE FORCE OR FORCE FOR CHANGE? EXPLANATION Social action theory: Weber Force for change Religions is an important component of the world, Weber attempted to show the evolution of new religious ideas and how they can stimulate social and economic change as people act in terms of their beliefs Commentary: Nelson Force for change Religion can undermine authority and promote change, e.g. Catholic church in Poland opposed communism Commentary: Gary Marx Force for change Religion can be both change inhibiting and promoting, depends on the nature of religious belief Commentary: McGuire Conservative force If a religion’s beliefs are central and dominant in society then religion has great power to change society, the belief system held by a religion will shape it’s role in society
  23. 23. Feminist theory ■ Religion oppresses women and encourages traditional gender roles ■ It gives legitimisation to men having control over women – women are their property ■ Marriage ceremonies – “to love, honour and obey” ■ Adam and Eve – Eve who’s tempted by the devil, original sin blamed on women ■ Historically religion has been used to enforce that men are in charge of women, women are lower than men in society, restrict divorce and seperation
  24. 24. Feminist theory (2) De Beauvoir ■ Religion consists of patriarchy ■ “Christian ideology has contributed no a little to the oppression of women” ■ “Women could take only a secondary place as participants in worship
  25. 25. Feminist theory (3) Badawi ■ Some religion is positive for women ■ E.g. Islam – women keep their own family name when they marry
  26. 26. Feminist theory (4) Watson ■ Religion can have advantages to Muslim women ■ The veil Islamic women wear can help to reduce and protect women from male oppression such as sexual harassment
  27. 27. Feminist theory (5) Ahmed ■ The veil is a way in which women can become involved in modern society whilst maintaining sense of modesty and correctness ■ Islamic dress is a uniform of both transition and arrival, signalling entrance into and determination to move forward in society
  28. 28. Interactionist theories of religion Berger ■ Society is socially constructed as individuals build up a knowledge of their everyday world through their experiences and make sense of their environment through interactions with others ■ They classify phenomena and build up a common sense knowledge of their society ■ Religion is constructed by individuals in order to give a sense of purpose to their lives and create a universe of meaning ■ Religion provides people with answers to ultimate questions and conveys a sense of living in a sacred cosmos
  29. 29. Interactionist theories of religion (2) Bell ■ Individuals create religious meaning because it meets fundamental and enduring emotional needs particularly with regards to suffering and death ■ Religion is a significant social institution which categorises the world into the sacred and the secular, the moral and the evil ■ Provides people with a set of beliefs and ethical codes which become part of their subjective understanding which helps them make sense of life, described as the universe of meaning ■ Socially created myths, customs, values and central belief systems provides societal stability through meanings shared by the majority ■ Those who don’t are identified and treated as deviants
  30. 30. Religious organisations ■ NewAge Movements: the modern, affluent, university-educated M/C subscribe to individualist beliefs which stress human potential ■ Rapid social change brings about uncertainty – involvement in NAMs might bring with it security and certainty in an uncertain world ■ Secularisation of established religions may mean that people look to NAMs for spiritual satisfaction ■ NAMs may appeal more to women because they admire the virtues of feminine-like values ■ The low level of commitment required may be more appealing to those who believe yet have busy lifestyles ■ NAMs may be indicative of the wide range of choices available to us in the construction of personal identity
  31. 31. Religious organisations (2) Scientology ■ A religion that offers a precise path leading to a complete and certain understanding of one’s true spiritual nature and one’s relationship to the self, family, groups, mankind, all life forms, the material universe, the spiritual universe and the supreme being ■ Address the spirit, not the body or mind ■ Believes that man is far more than a product of his environment or genes ■ Comprises a body of knowledge which extends from certain fundamental truths: man is an immortal spiritual being, his experience extends well beyond a single lifetime, his capabilities are unlimited ■ Holds man to be basically good – spiritual salvation depends upon the self ■ You discover for yourself that the principles of scientology are true by applying them and observing the results ■ Ultimate goal is true spiritual enlightenment and freedom for all ■ World affirming
  32. 32. Religious organisations (3) The Unification Church (Moonies) ■ Comprised of families from around the world striving to establish a world of peace and unity among all people, races and religions ■ Champions 3 ideals: family, peace and unification ■ “To guide America back to God through the teachings and marriage blessing of true parents” ■ All share the same equal and divine value ■ Seek to equip individuals with the knowledge needed to develop a personal relationship with God and with each other ■ Find practical ways to improve humanity’s relationship with the environment and each other ■ World rejecting
  33. 33. Religious organisations (4) Barker –The Making of the Moonies ■ Studied the Moonies over a period of 7 years (longitudinal study) ■ Live away from families, work full time for the Moonies ■ Movement offers them truth and enlightenment ■ Critics – evil form of bondage ■ Interactionist perspective ■ Seemed intelligent, nice, ordinary people ■ Mosiah chose their lives, where they lived, what job they did, who they married ■ Access – took her nearly 2 years, they saw that Barker listened rather than judged ■ Random samples ■ Asked the Moonies what questions she should ask
  34. 34. Religious organisations (5) Wallis ■ World-rejecting NRMs: introversionist and conversionist sects ■ World-affirming NRMs: sects and cults, new age movements ■ World-accommodating NRMs: charismatic churches ■ People may join for a number of reasons: 1. Disillusion with established church 2. Charismatic leaders 3. Economic deprivation/marginality 4. Relative social deprivation – status, ethical, organismic and psychic 5. Fear of social change 6. Rejection of utilitarian individualism and alienation with materialism 7. Greater choice of spiritual lifestyles
  35. 35. Religious organisations (6) Heelas ■ People are disillusioned with traditional, political and moral codes and wish to create their own identity through involvement with NAMs ■ Membership of NAMs symbolises a rejection of consumer culture because people are fed up with trying to achieve the perfection encouraged by advertisers
  36. 36. Religious organisations (7) Church ■ Usually large membership ■ Inclusive, involuntary – may not actively choose to be members but be socialised into it through the family’s beliefs ■ Bureaucratic – have hierarchies ■ Professional clergy – paid, housing ■ Acceptance of wider society – all embracing ■ A monopoly of the truth – don’t accept other beliefs
  37. 37. Religious organisations (8) Sect ■ Small exclusive membership – only those who choose and actively commit ■ Total commitment ■ Some opposition to wider society ■ No professional clergy ■ Charismatic leader/founder – usually end when they die but if they do continue then develop into church/denomination ■ Monopoly of truth
  38. 38. Religious organisations (9) Denomination ■ Large, inclusive membership ■ Bureaucratic ■ Professional clergy ■ Acceptance of wider society and religious diversity ■ No monopoly of truth ■ Smaller than churches, bigger than sects ■ Low level of commitment (similar to churches) ■ Often resemble churches ■ More than not M/C members
  39. 39. Religious organisations (10) Cult ■ Small, mystical, individualistic, pragmatic, informal ■ Short lived ■ Often seen as a problem to society ■ Believe theirs is one of many paths to follow (Robertson) ■ Organised, open to the outside world, more individualistic, inner power of people (Wallis)
  40. 40. Religious organisations (11) Stark and Bainbridge ■ Distinguish between different types of cults: 1. Audience cults: most unorganised e.g. astrology 2. Client cults: more organised e.g. spiritualism 3. Cultic movements: closest to sects e.g. scientology
  41. 41. Religious organisations (12) New Age Movements ■ A phenomenon of the late 80’s and 90’s, affirms the continuing significance of the sacred in contemporary society (Davie) ■ 3 major themes (Bruce): 1. New science – opposed to closed mindedness of traditional science, myths 2. New ecology – earth is a living organism e.g. living in harmony with the planet 3. New psychology and spirituality – emphasis on the self and the spirit ■ Many of the movements are self-religions, realising human potential (Heelas) ■ Appeals to those who are likely to succeed as it’s more about a fear of failure (Weber)
  42. 42. Religious organisations (13) New Age Movements ■ Some people are pre-disposed towards self-examination (Bruce) ■ A free, private and optional religion fashioned according to one’s own needs and understanding (Durkheim) ■ Concern with the self and how to improve it (Lasch) ■ More likely to be women and M/C, cultic milieu (shops, magazines, books, websites), wide involvement, low membership and commitment, low impact on most peoples’ lives (Bruce) ■ NAMs became part of the mainstream, counter cultural aspect – world recycling, ecology, spirituality, anti-science, mainstream aspect – self-improvement (Heelas)
  43. 43. Religious organisations (14) New Religious Movements ■ 3 types (Wallis): 1. Reject – hostile religious sects often resemble straight forward religions e.g. Moonies 2. Accommodate – more like religious denominations e.g. Buddhism 3. Affirm – improves lives of members e.g. scientology
  44. 44. Religious organisations (15) New Religious Movements ■ Scientology ■ Originally called dianetics ■ Founder – Ron Hubbard ■ Believed people would lead happier lives if they got rid of bad experiences ■ Use an emeter – auditor measures early life experiences and group discuss through experiences ■ Faced hostility from U.S. government ■ Banned in Germany
  45. 45. Religious organisations (16) New Religious Movements ■ Rationalisation – Weber ■ The cold and deliberate reasoning about the world, e.g. making money ■ Mystery, magic, prophecy and sacred has been pushed out of life ■ A growing disenchantment with the world leading to desacrilisation ■ NRMs have developed in response to a loss of the sacred (Wallis)
  46. 46. Secularisation ■ The process whereby religious thinking, practices and institutions lose social significance (Wilson) ■ 2 ways to view secularisation (Heelas and Woodhead): 1. Disappearance thesis: modernity bringing about the death of religion, significance for society and individuals declining, this will continue until religion disappears 2. Differentiation thesis: religion declining in social significance, no longer plays an important part in society, become separated from wider social structure, but can still be significant for the individual
  47. 47. Secularisation (2) ■ 2 levels which religion can have an impact (Hanson): 1. Broad approach: concerned with whether religion has lost significance on the level of the social system 2. Narrow approach: concerned with whether religion has lost significance on the level of the individual conscience ■ Secularisation cycle – secularisation isn’t an end to religion but part of a cycle, religion can never disappear, religion will always be needed to answer questions (Stark and Bainbridge) ■ Belief vs belonging – increase in private worship, this “invisible religion” isn’t secularisation but just a new form of religious practice, “televangelism” – religious satelliteTV/radio stations broadcasting religion 24 hours a day (Davie)
  48. 48. Secularisation (3) FOR AGAINST Church attendance and membership Unreliable statistics Reduced moral influence Resacrilisation Power and influence of church Vicarious religion Religious beliefs Interruptions in morality Religious practices Secularisation cycle Privatised religion Belief vs belonging Desacrilisation and rationalisation The USA Disengagement Religious pluralism
  49. 49. Secularisation (4) Wilson 1. Organisation – monopolised knowledge through education, control and define the natural world, close relationships, feudal Britain actively involved in government, social control, confession/excommunication 2. Practice – statistics need to be assessed in terms of reliability (systematic, not open to distortion or bias) and validity (accurate picture of reality) 3. Belief – scientific ideologies have developed during the 20th century and become powerful, they use evidence to prove things true
  50. 50. Secularisation (5) Evidence against secularisation Martin – high attendance in past may be a reflection of non-religious factors, in South America religion is very important Turner – in the past people didn’t always understand own religion Harrison – in the past behaviour of the elite was religious, apparent decline may just be an increased privatisation of faith Davie – believing without belonging, religious statistics are hard to handle, may be many factors effecting them Stark and Bainbridge – religion meets fundamental needs of individuals and provides rewards/compensators for deprivation, religious compensators meet universal human needs Greeley and Nelson – society undergoing a religious revival Berger – around the world religion is just as important as it ever was Heelas – the cultic milieu is widespread as people search for non-scientific answers to ultimate questions
  51. 51. Secularisation (6) The causes of secularisation Traditional religious organisations are seen as conservative, old fashioned and out of touch with modern society Religious ministers have lost status in society Many functions carried out by religion e.g. education and welfare are performed by the state now, religion has been side-lined in peoples’ lives Traditional religious organisations have faced challenges to traditional teachings by new religious movements Changing leisure patterns and a more consumer based lifestyle means Sundays have become less about religious observance The growth of science and what Comte and Weber call the rationalisation of the modern world have replaced religious faith as a means of understanding the world The decline of metanarratives, including both religion and science, postmodernists such as Lyotard see this as creating a spiritual supermarket which fits peoples’ lifestyle choices Religious pluralisation – one religion no longer commands the respect of the whole society, no value consensus which Durkheim and Parsons see as important in maintaining social cohesion and stability
  52. 52. Secularisation (7) Stark and Bainbridge – Religious market theory ■ There is a basic and constant demand for religion as people have a demand for compensators and rewards that only religion can provide ■ Religious organisations are like businesses supplying religious products to meet the demands of consumers in the spiritual market place ■ Religions that grow are those that supply and market attractive products that appeal to a wide range of spiritual tastes and beliefs, they constantly adapt their products to the demands of their potential customers ■ Religious organisations try to make themselves as attractive as possible by offering the greatest rewards at the lowest prices ■ Religious pluralism provides a competing market with a wide range of products which is the key factor in high levels of religious participation in any society
  53. 53. Secularisation (8) Norris and Inglehart – Existential security theory ■ One major function of religion is to provide a sense of confidence and predictability in a threatening and uncertain world ■ They found that virtually all prosperous industrial societies are more secular than poorer developing nations, with the poorest having a greater demand for religion as they face the lowest levels of existential security ■ In societies where survival is uncertain, religion claims to provide answers and reassurance about the future and afterlife – these are societies with low levels of existential security ■ In more prosperous societies with well developed economies, welfare state and comprehensive healthcare and education, these states are more secular, due to the high levels of existential security the importance of religion has declined ■ U.S.A. ANOMALY
  54. 54. Secularisation (9) The impact of globalisation ■ Globalisation has taken place through the mass media, internet, mass tourism and migration of huge numbers of people from one country to another ■ This has meant that different cultures and religions have come into close contact with each other more than ever before ■ This has led to more religious diversity and that the world religions are becoming less tied to particular geographical areas of countries (Meyer) The process whereby there’s a growing interconnectedness of societies across the world, with the spread of the same culture, consumer goods and economic interests across the globe
  55. 55. Secularisation (10) Gender ■ 84% of women believed in God compared to 64% of men (Brierley) ■ Women were more likely to believe religion was important, but men were more likely to attend mosques (Modood) ■ Differential socialisation – women are taught to be more submissive and passive, these characteristics associated with being more religious, structural location – women take part in religion because of their social roles as they’re more likely to work part time which gives them time to participate in church-related activities, risk – women tend to be risk averse hence not going to church could be risky as it could lead to rejection from heaven (Miller and Hoffman) ■ Women tend to be less goal-orientated, more cooperative and less domineering, these attributes fit well with religion and spirituality,W/C women tend to support religions which believe in an all-powerfulGod, whereas M/C women tend to turn to NAMs (Bruce)
  56. 56. Secularisation (11) Gender (2) ■ Women have been leaving the main Christian churches in the UK at a faster rate than men, this could be down to certain factors such as: women are coming to question their traditional gender roles, the demands of full time employment have replaced religion as a focus of activity, high divorce rates and lone parenthood are met with disapproval from traditional churches (Aune) ■ Religion plays a part in maintaining male domination over women (Beauvoir and Saadawi) ■ In the Qur’an women are legally inferior to men, the veiling of women in Islam keeps women invisible, sexual pleasure for women is disapproved of, Catholics’ opposition to birth control orders that sex isn’t for pleasure (Aldridge) ■ Most scripture suggests man is master by divine right (Beauvoir) ■ Women’s menstruation is seen as polluting and women cannot touch sacred objects (Holm) ■ The catholic church demonstrates its opposition to equality by opposing contraception, abortion, not allowing women to join the priesthood, and stressing women’s roles as mothers (Woodhead)
  57. 57. Secularisation (12) Ethnicity ■ 11% of white members of the CofE saw religion as very important in their lives, compared to 71% of Caribbean members, 43% of Hindus and 74% of Muslims, ethnic minority groups also more likely to attend places of worship than whites (Modood) ■ Reasons why ethnic minority groups are more religious (Bird): Many members of ethnic minority groups originate in societies that have high levels of religiosity Belonging to an ethnic minority group within a society means that religion can be an important basis for a sense of community and solidarity, it can give members a point of contact, sense of identity and introduce them to potential marriage partners Ethnic minority groups see religion as a way of maintaining cultural identity in terms of traditions Socialisation can lead to strong pressure on children to maintain religious commitment Religious beliefs may be a way to cope with oppression
  58. 58. Secularisation (13) Ethnicity (2) ■ Ethnic minorities are more religious but this may be more an expression of community than religious commitment, religion is a cultural defence (using religion to protect identity in a hostile environment) and a cultural transition (religion is used to cope with the upheaval of migration), over time the secular nature of British society will erode the importance of religion for ethnic minority groups (Bruce) ■ Higher levels of religiosity in ethnic minority groups may be a means of maintaining tradition, group cohesion and community solidarity, mosques and temples are also community centres and provide a focus for social life (Davie) ■ Religion was an important part of socialisation (Modood) ■ Many BritishAsians have formed a new single identity called “Brasian” which blends both cultures
  59. 59. Secularisation (14) Ethnicity (3) ■ There’s a rise in religiosity amongst 2nd and 3rd generation Muslims, more Muslims are wearing the headscarf, a growing demand for education, financial and legal arrangements that comply with Sharia law, over half of all British Muslims in all age groups say they would rather live under British law than Sharia law, 35% of 16-24 year olds expressed a preference for Sharia law (Mirza) ■ The rise of Muslim identity amongst the young may be related to 3 factors (Mirza): 1. British foreign policy 2. The decline of other sources of identity 3. Multicultural policies
  60. 60. Secularisation (15) Class ■ Denominations tend to attract the upper working and lower middle classes, sects are more likely to attract the relatively deprived (Wallis) ■ Church going is largely a M/C pursuit, many denominations seem to appeal to lower middle and upper working class and tend to have a high proportion ofW/C members (Ashworth and Farthing) ■ New age client cults have their largest appeal from the M/C, like young professionals (Bruce and Heelas)
  61. 61. Secularisation (16) Age ■ The average age of a churchgoer in 1979 was 37, 2005 nearly 60% of churches had no attendants aged 15-19 (Brierley) ■ 3 reasons why older people appear more religious than the young (Voas and Crockett): 1. People become more religious as they age – life experiences e.g. having children or getting older may encourage them to return to religion 2. Period effect – those born in a particular period are more likely to be religious that those born in another time period 3. Progressive decline – each generation is less religious than the previous on ■ The age gap between churchgoers and non-churchgoers has widened over the last 25 years (Bruce) ■ The majority of those involved in New Age ideas and activities appeal to the middle aged and older (Heelas)
  62. 62. Secularisation (17) Age (2) ■ Young people are less likely to be socialised in the religion of their parents, they now exercise their choice in the construction of their personal and group identities (Cusack) ■ Young people are turning away from conventional ideas of religion (Lynch) ■ Expanded spiritual market place (Roof) ■ Belief without belonging (Davie) ■ Declining religious education – most secondary schools don’t have religious assemblies or an act of worship (Bruce) ■ Secularisation and the decline of metanarratives (Lyotard)
  63. 63. Religious revival Heelas and Woodhead –The Kendal project ■ Church in Kendal is a monument of when religion was powerful ■ Decline in religion was an intentional part of rationality and society today (Weber) ■ Sacralisation – the growth of religion ■ Starting point for the Kendal project – is religion changing or declining? ■ Longitudinal study ■ Holistic domain/milieu – environment/atmosphere around you, healing/treating ■ 3 stages to the study: 1. Finding and recording the number of different religious services 2. Deeper understanding of religious organisations and their alternatives 3. Information from individuals
  64. 64. Religious revival Heelas and Woodhead –The Kendal project (2) ■ Used telephone interviews, questionnaires, participant observation, field notes ■ Quantitative and qualitative research ■ Triangulation – interviews, questionnaires, observation ■ 7.9% of Kendal attended church (decline) ■ 1.7% of Kendal attended a holistic domain/alternative spirituality (increase) ■ Agreed with the postmodernist view of individualisation, we live in a more consumerist culture – link to spiritual shopping ■ Found it was predominantly a woman’s spirituality
  65. 65. Religious pluralism REASONS FOR RELIGIOSITY IN ETHNIC MINORITIES Community – rejected by the white CofE Deprivation – Pentecostalism traditionally appealed to aW/C congregation Racism – may be an act of defence Social stratification – upwardly mobile Afro-Caribbeans more likely to attend traditional churches Pearson – L/C Afro-Caribbeans more likely to attend Pentecostal churches Gender – more male membership of Pentecostal churches may be dues to loss of status in white society Stark and Bainbridge – religion may act as compensation, meeting complex needs and providing rewards Jenkins – religion plays a part in identity Bruce – religion is a social defence, a way of resisting integration into the majority culture, religion is also socially functional, a point of contact for social welfare and a source of marriage partners Weber – theodicy of disprivilege Modood – there seems to be a decline in each religious group in the 2nd generation, often under family pressure to attend places of worship Butler – idea of cultural hybridity
  66. 66. Religious belief and social groups WHAT FUNDAMENTALISTS DO WHYTHEY DO IT They interpret infallible texts literally They do this in order to counter what they see as the diluting influence of excessive intellectualism among more liberal organisations.They often use texts from scriptures selectively to support their arguments. They reject religious pluralism Tolerance of other religious ideas is perceived to water down personal faith and as a consequence fundamentalists have a “them” and “us” mentality. Followers find a personal experience of God’s presence They define all areas of life as sacred, thus requiring a high level of engagement. For example, fundamentalist Christians are “born again” to live the rest of their lives in a special relationship with Jesus. They oppose secularisation and modernity and are in favour of tradition They believe that accommodation of the changing world undermines religious conviction and leads to moral corruption.
  67. 67. Religious belief and social groups (2) WHAT FUNDAMENTALISTS DO WHYTHEY DO IT They promote conservative beliefs, often including patriarchal ones They argue God intends humans to live in heterosexual societies dominated by men. In particular, they condemn abortion and detest lesbian and gay relationships. They emerge in response to social inequality or a perceived social crisis They attract members by offering solutions to desperate, worried or dejected people. Ironically, they tend to make maximum use of modern technology To compete on equal terms with those who threaten their very existence, the Christian Right, for example, us television (in their view the prime cause of moral decay) to preach the “word”. Use of the internet is now widespread by all fundamentalist groups.
  68. 68. Religious belief and social groups (3) Bruce – the causes of fundamentalism No sacred text = no fundamentalism. Group enemy = group unity. Religious leader = less interpretation = less fundamentalism. Dejected people = new members. No political relation = more chance of violent fundamentalism.
  69. 69. Religious belief and social groups (4) ■ Fundamentalists are traditionalists seeking to return to the basics/fundamentals of their faiths, they’re scriptural liberalists, fundamentalism is a reaction to globalisation, which undermines traditional social norms concerning family, gender and sexuality, they’re attracted to the rigid, faith-based answers they receive (Giddens) ■ Western fundamentalism (e.g. Christian Right), third world fundamentalism (e.g. Taliban), religious fundamentalism can also be found in Christianity, Islam and Judaism (Bruce) ■ Metanarrative: one singular truth