Functionalism Essay

1365 WordsOct 11, 20126 Pages
------------------------------------------------- Item A ------------------------------------------------- A common theme of functionalist approaches is the emphasis on religion’s contribution to value consensus and social integration. For example, Durkheim and Parsons describe religion as integrating individuals into a community by installing into them a set of shared beliefs that gives them a feeling of belonging and a common identity. Functionalists argue that this is beneficial for society and for individuals. ------------------------------------------------- Marxists and feminists take a different view. They emphasise the conflict and inequality and they argue that some individuals and groups may benefit more from religion at the expense of others. Using material from Item A and elsewhere, assess the functionalist view that religion benefits society as a whole and its individual members. (18 marks) Functionalists believe that society is a human body, all working together to achieve one goal of togetherness and consensus. Religion is supposed to benefit everyone as a whole and the individual members as well as it is one of the many functions that help run the society. Many sociologists have put forward arguments as to why this is true. The general theme of the functionalist view is that religion brings about value consensus and social integration as suggested in item A. However sociologists often disagree on the reason as to why this is true. Emile Durkheim an influential sociologist suggests that sacred symbols in religion represent collective consciousness, which means one being thinking the same and having the same beliefs. Durkheim studied Australian aborigine’s sacred symbols. Theirs being a totem pole. This symbol could represent beliefs, norms and values which are made clear by the engravings in the totem pole, as they are usually important gods

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