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Flashcards in Religion-Functionalist Views Deck (11):

What does Durkheim suggest about the totem?

That the totem is sacred because it is symbolically representative of the group itself


Why is the totem so sacred?

Stands for values of the community and by worshiping it they are effectively worshiping society


What does Durkheim say about the future of religion?

As labour becomes complex, collective conscious will become weaker and so individuals will become less inclined to worship collectively and no longer see society as sacred- Durkheim calls this “Cult Of The Man”


Explain Psychological functions

Malinowski (1954)

Believed that religion helps to manage emotional stresses eg death, that would otherwise undermine social solidarity


What did Tischler et al suggest about religion

Reaffirms the groups beliefs and values(latency)

Physically beings people together(latency)

Transmits a groups cultural heritage through generations(manifest)

Manifest- intended function
Latency- unintended function


Explain Civil Religion


In America there are multiple faiths and cultures but the people practice CR meaning that they are essentially worshiping the nation and putting it above the rest

Eg singing national anthem, pledging allegiance to the flag


Outline why Bellah believed that civil religion was in decline

1. People rank their own personal gratitude above others

2. People becoming cynical of social institutions eg government


What does Parson say about religion

Sees religion helping individuals to cope with unforeseen events


What functions does Parson identify about religion

Creates and legitimates society’s central values

Provides answers to ultimate questions

Primary source of meaning eg life


Name some criticisms against the functionalist view of religion

-Too positive; neglects negative aspects eg oppression of women

-Durkheim; only applies to small scale society with a single religion

-No clear distinction between sacred and profane eg a chair can be both

-Functional alternatives; other institutions such as media


Name some positives with the Functionalist view of religion

Helps to see why people turn to religion for support

CR useful for explaining a strong sense of nationalism

Parsons gives reasons for our norms and beliefs