The Sociology of Religion
This paper compares, contrasts, and evaluates Durkheim's sociology of religion with that developed by Marx.
# 55456 | 3,061 words | 6 sources | MLA | 2003 |
Published on Jan 29, 2005 in Religion and Theology (General) , Sociology (General) , Political Science (General) , Political Science (Marx / Engels)
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By first examining religious phenomena, Durkheim's emphasis on the individual aspects of religion is outlined in this paper. This follows an examination of the typical functionalist ideal: That in order to understand a society, you must first examine its parts. It explains that Marx does not examine the facets of society, but this is because Marx is a materialist. Thus, Marx focused on the material foundation of religion, this being its economic origins. The paper then examines how Durkheim and Marx are very similar, as they both believe religion was created by society. It shows that, despite the differences in their respective paradigms, Karl Marx and Emile Durkheim's sociologies of religion are very similar.
From the Paper:"There are many different paradigms within the study of sociology; each leads to a different conclusion regarding society. Two of these paradigms are evident in the work of Emile Durkheim and Karl Marx. Durkheim was a functionalist, Marx, a realist. The functionalist perspective can be defined as "The doctrine that the function of an object should determine its design and materials"(Functionalist, 2002). Thus, in order to understand society, one must examine its parts and their functions. Materialists, on the other hand believe "that physical matter is the only reality and that everything, including thought, feeling, mind, and will, can be explained in terms of matter and physical phenomena" (Materialist, 2002). These opposing theories are evident in much of their respective works, as Durkheim's description is more detailed and functional, and Marx's is more purposeful. However, with regards to the sociology of religion, these differences are only skin-deep. Contrary to common belief, their underlying arguments are actually quite similar as will be proved subsequently."
Cite this Comparison Essay:
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