Sociological Paradigms and Religion in Society Analytical Essay by scribbler

Sociological Paradigms and Religion in Society
An analysis of the functionalist, social conflict and interactionist paradigms and their application to religion in society.
# 152620 | 1,524 words | 5 sources | APA | 2013 | US
Published on Apr 03, 2013 in Sociology (Theory) , Religion and Theology (General)

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The paper first discusses the structural-functionalist paradigm and provides a structural-functionalist analysis of human religion. Next, the paper looks at the social conflict perspective on religion in society as well as the symbolic-interaction sociological paradigm and its view on the institution of religion. The paper finds that all three sociological paradigms provide valuable insight into understanding religion in society. The paper asserts that the best understanding of religion in human society requires the application of the right elements of all three sociological paradigms to specific issues that are best explained in terms of those concepts.

The Functionalism Perspective on Religion in Society
The Social Conflict Perspective on Religion in Society
The Symbolic Interaction Perspective on Religion in Society

From the Paper:

"Possibly the most useful application of structural-formalism to the institution of religion in human societies is to compare the relative positive contributions of religion to the human community while recognizing the nature of the negative consequences to the human community that are (also) attributable to a religious personal psychological orientation in the individual and a religious social orientation in the community. Therefore, the functionalist analysis would consider the positive contributions of religion such as generating a feeling of social unity, encouraging social concern, and the reinforcement of community values through shared (mostly arbitrary) rituals. The negative consequences considered the price of those benefits under structural formalism might include unjustified xenophobia, antagonism among different religions because of diametrically opposite beliefs and desires, personal psychological issues in individuals, and unnecessary intraregional and inter-regional group conflict.
"More specifically, the functionalist analysis might suggest that religion contributes more to society than it costs society to establish stability, solidarity, and group unity in that manner. It would acknowledge the potential benefits of encouraging beneficent conduct (in general) and of discouraging antisocial and destructive conduct (in general). It would also acknowledge the possible psychological benefits to the individual of sharing core values with others. But the objective application of functionalist analysis would also recognize that relying on religion to shape or contribute positive structure to society also involves what Merton would call various negative latent functions (Macionis, 2007)."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Gerrig, R.J. and Zimbardo, P.G. (2008). Psychology and Life. New York: Pearson.
  • Healey, J.F. (2006). Race, Ethnicity, Gender, and Class: The Sociology of Group Conflict and Change. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge.
  • Macionis, J.J. (2007). Sociology. Hoboken, NJ: Prentice Hall.
  • Schaefer, R.T. (2006). Racial and Ethnic Groups. Hoboken, NJ: Prentice Hall.
  • Schaefer, R.T. (2009) Sociology: A Brief Introduction (8th Ed.). New York: McGraw Hill.

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

Sociological Paradigms and Religion in Society (2013, April 03) Retrieved April 17, 2024, from

MLA Format

"Sociological Paradigms and Religion in Society" 03 April 2013. Web. 17 April. 2024. <>