Throughout history, and in societies across the world, leaders have used religious narratives, symbols, and traditions in an attempt to give more meaning to life and understand the universe. (Photo courtesy of James Emery/flickr), Many religions, including the Catholic faith, have long prohibited women from becoming spiritual leaders. New York: Free Press. Commentators on religious experience disagree on the significance ofphenomenological considerations. © 1999-2020, Rice University. How do people decide which religion to follow, if any? Subject:Sociology Paper: Religion and society. His century-old claim that the Protestant work ethic led to the development of capitalism has been one of the most important and controversial topics in the sociology of religion. Karl Marx viewed religion as a tool used by capitalist societies to perpetuate inequality. The information age has increased the rapid pace of production expected in many jobs. These universals, and the differences in the way societies and individuals experience religion, provide rich material for sociological study. The McDonaldization of Society. Sociology in general looks at people’s dynamics and explains a group’s influence. The interaction between religious leaders and practitioners, the role of religion in the ordinary components of everyday life, and the ways people express religious values in social interactions—all might be topics of study to an interactionist. He believed religion reflects the social stratification of society and that it maintains inequality and perpetuates the status quo. In his new podcast for the Religious Studies Project, Callum Brown has given us an excellent introduction to the historical approach to the study of religion. On an extreme level, the Inquisition, the Salem witch trials, and anti-Semitism are all examples of this dynamic. In fact his ideas later contributed to the formation of sociological theory of religion. 1988. “Religious Economies and Sacred Canopies: Religious Mobilization in American Cities, 1906.” American Sociological Review 53:41–49. As stated earlier, French sociologist Émile Durkheim (1858–1917) defined religion as a “unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things” (1915). Because religion can be central to many people’s concept of themselves, sometimes there is an “in-group” versus “out-group” feeling toward other religions in our society or within a particular practice. To him, sacred meant extraordinary—something that inspired wonder and that seemed connected to the concept of “the divine.” Durkheim argued that “religion happens” in society when there is a separation between the profane (ordinary life) and the sacred (1915). 1993. One of the most important functions of religion, from a functionalist perspective, is the opportunities it creates for social interaction and the formation of groups. To interactionists, beliefs and experiences are not sacred unless individuals in a society regard them as sacred. 2 hours Structural theories Outcome 1 PC (a) & (b) and 2 PC (a) • Examine consensus theory. Sociological approaches to the study of Religion in the writings of Marx, Durkheim and Weber According to this perspective, religion has been used to support the “divine right” of oppressive monarchs and to justify unequal social structures, like India’s caste system. It provides social support and social networking and offers a place to meet others who hold similar values and a place to seek help (spiritual and material) in times of need. 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