Functionalism and Religion (Durkheim (Religion is a unified system of…
Functionalism and Religion
Maintaining Status Quo- religion inhibits social change and helps keep society
Religion is a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things.
Religion- set of myths and imaginary forces constructed by human beings.
Divine and supernatural have no foundation in reality.
Believed religion is as necessary for everyday life as food is, he saw religion is a power of social good.
Durkeim studied Aboriginal totemism- totem symbol of God and society. Symbolises power of the supernatural but also collective conscience (agreed norms and values). Society is more powerful and important than the individual, God and society are the same thing, those who worship God, worship society.
Religion + core values = social cohesion
Religion performs 3 functions
Provides moral guidelines- religion teaches right and wrong.
Provides a means of adjusting to events that you can't be predicted- coping mechanism, e.g. after a natural disaster people turn to God, comfort.
Provides a higher meaning or purpose - got something to aim for and live up to. Ultimate goal.
Religion deals with situations of emotional stress that threaten social disorder.
Religion manages these tensions and brings stability to society, coping mechanism.
Ignores dysfunctional aspects of religion.
There are religious conflicts all over the world- is it really positive?
Religion can bring about change, functionalists don't acknowledge this.
Religion can be a source of oppression.