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Using Material from Item a and Elsewhere, Assess the Functionalist View That Religion Benefits Both Society as a Whole and It’s Individual Members. Essay

  • Submitted by: anonymous
  • on February 13, 2013
  • Category: Social Issues
  • Length: 1,405 words

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Below is an essay on "Using Material from Item a and Elsewhere, Assess the Functionalist View That Religion Benefits Both Society as a Whole and It’s Individual Members." from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

Using material from Item A and elsewhere, assess the functionalist view that religion benefits both society as a whole and it’s individual members. (18)
Functionalists believe that religion is an essential part of society, helping to create a value consensus amongst individuals and therefore helping to establish order and solidarity within society as a whole. Durkheim believes religious rituals reinforce a collective consciousness maintaining social integration which would otherwise fail to exist. Marxists and Feminists however argue that religion acts as a means of oppression, legitimising subordination and inequality within society and creating a false consciousness in order to maintain a division between different groups.
Durkheim believes one of the key features of religion is the distinction it gives between the profane and sacred. Durkheim states that through rituals and practices, religion allows individuals and groups to overcome fears and aspects in life which would otherwise be feared or forbidden. By performing this role, Durkheim believes religion allows communities to come together. Rituals are often performed around a symbol which individuals are able to unite around (Item A line 2) forming a single moral community. Durkheim states that the symbol is used to symbolise society therefore communities worship society through an unconscious manor. An example of this is the Arunta clan who come together to worship the Totem which symbolises the clans origins and identity. As a result of this, religion is acting as a force to bring together a collective consciousness in which individual members of a community become dependent upon one another thereby bringing communities close together, enabling them to feel part of a group, overcome obstacles that may arise in life (Item A line 3) and therefore creating social solidarity.
Critics however would argue that Durkheim’s theory only applies to small scale single religion societies and overlooks multi religious...

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Using Material from Item a and Elsewhere, Assess the Functionalist View That Religion Benefits Both Society as a Whole and It’s Individual Members.. Anti Essays. Retrieved December 11, 2017, from the World Wide Web: http://www.antiessays.com/free-essays/Using-Material-From-Item-A-And-404572.html