Cultural Sociology's Contribution to Understanding Religion Research Paper

Cultural Sociology's Contribution to Understanding Religion
Looks at the contribution to the understanding of religion in the era of globalization, and Islamic fundamentalism that cultural sociology has had.
# 2152 | 6,629 words | 11 sources | 2000 | ZA
Published on Sep 20, 2001 in Sociology (General)

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This essay critically assesses the contribution of cultural sociology to the understanding of religion. It does this by first examining and summarizing how three "classical sociological theorists" (i.e.: Weber, Durkheim and Marx) see the nature of religion as a cultural form. It then looks at various recent theories of religion under globalization. The author then assesses the contribution that these cultural theories give to the understanding of real religious phenomena through examining whether they can help in an understanding of Islamic fundamentalism in general, and the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in Algeria specifically. The paper includes extensive use of quotes from the three theorists.

From the Paper:

"In fact, according to Giddens, Marx believed that religion is the "opium of the people" (Giddens, 1996, p464). In other words, Marx believed that religion defers happiness and rewards to the afterlife, teaching the acceptance of existing conditions in this life. This means that attention is diverted away from inequalities and injustices in this life by promising a better future in the Afterlife. In addition to this, Budd believes that Marx thought religion not only reflected the suffering of the working class, but offered a "fantasy escape" from that suffering (Budd, 1973). Marx believed that religion had a very powerful ideological element, and that religious beliefs and values often provide justifications of inequalities of wealth and power (Giddens, 1996). He further claims that religion often has ideological implications which serve to justify the interests of the ruling class at the expense of other subordinate classes (Giddens, 1996)."

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