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religion in sociology and anthropology

Aj Christin Grothaus

Christin Grothaus

on 2 May 2013

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Transcript of religion in sociology and anthropology

Religion in Sociology
and Anthropology Aj Christin Grothaus Slavery Agriculture: Chain of Events Plows pulled by animals Larger food surplus Greater division of labor Elite control of valued goods Elite control of valued goods Elite defense of position with arms Social stratification Centralization of power During this period, stratification became a major feature of social life. An elite gained control of surplus resources and defended their position with arms. This centralization of power and resources eventually led to the development of the state as the rich and powerful developed the institution of the state to further consolidate their gains. Agrarian Societies Agrarian societies are based on large-scale agricultural production made possible by plows pulled by animals.
These societies:
Are more efficient than earlier societies
Have a huge food surplus
Have a complex division of labor
Permit the accumulation of wealth by the few
Involve considerable inequality. 3. The Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution involved a dramatic change in the nature of production:
Machines replaced tools
Steam and other energy sources replaced human or animal power
Unskilled workers replaced skilled workers
Work that had been performed in the home by family members was now performed in factories with the help of machines. Industry: Chain of Events Machines driven by fuels Population increase:
rural to urban shift Larger surpluses: food & mfgd goods Division of labor:unskilled/skilled Increased trade Widespread distribution of goods Class conflict Low wages:
slave-like labor Greater inequality:
capital v. labor Wealth concentrated:
rich v. poor Power concentration:
capitalists & state c Industrial Societies Industrial societies rely heavily on machines powered by fuels for the production of goods.
These societies:
Are extremely efficient
Produce large surpluses of food & manufactured goods
Involve substantial inequality
The breakup of agricultural-based feudal societies caused people to seek employment in the cities, creating a labor surplus resulting in extremely low wages.
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, and transport starting in the United Kingdom, then subsequently spreading throughout Europe, North America, and eventually the world. 4. The Information Revolution The Information Revolution involves a dramatic shift from manufacturing and agriculture to service industries.
The information superhigh-way, satellite dishes, and cellular phones are changing:
How families spend their time
The kind of work we do
Many other aspects of our lives Postindustrial Societies Postindustrial societies are dominated by:
Service industries (e.g., government, research, education, health, sales, law, banking)
High technology
It is still too early to identify and understand all the ramifications this new kind of society will have for social life. International cooperation between governments is increasing, aimed at reducing the divide, such as a recent agreement between the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Egyptian government.

It's a sign of progress that such attempts at bridging the digital divide are seriously being made. Other participants in similar endeavors include the United Nations Global Alliance for ICT and Development and the Digital Alliance Foundation. Nietzsche, Friedrich Max Weber (1864- 1920) Max Weber Karl Marx on religion Karl Marx Historical Materialism
(Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels)

Australian Aboriginies: Anthropological data.
The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life, the last major work published by Durkheim, five years before his death in 1917. Religion, for Durkheim, is not "imaginary," It is an expression of society itself. We perceive as individuals a force greater than ourselves, which is our social life, and give that perception a supernatural face.
We then express ourselves religiously in groups, which for Durkheim makes the symbolic power greater.
The Elementary Forms of Religious Life (1912) •German political economist and sociologist

•He was appointed to a chair in political economy at Heidelberg in 1896.
•From 1904 editorial director of the Archiv für
Social Sciences and Social Politics Max Weber developed a different
agenda for the sociology of religion:

What is the role of religion in the
process of social change? ...

What role can religion have ,
in the “modern”capitalist
society characterised by embracing
rationalization and oriented to
The protestant work ethic The materialist conception of history starts from the proposition that
the production of the means to support human life and the exchange of things
produced, is the basis of all social structure…

The means of production, and production itself, had become in essence
socialized where every one owns his own product and brings it to market.

…From this point of view, the final causes of all social changes and political revolutions are to be sought, not in men's brains, not in men's better insights into eternal truth and justice, but in changes in the modes of production and exchange. German philosopher

The crisis of traditional values
One of Nietszche's fundamental contentions was that traditional values (represented primarily by Christianity) had lost their power in the lives of individuals. He expressed this in his proclamation "God is dead."
He was convinced that traditional values represented a "slave morality," a morality created by weak and resentful individuals who encouraged such behaviour as gentleness and kindness because the behaviour served their interests. Nietzsche claimed that new values could be created to replace the traditional ones. Weber conceived sociology as a comprehensiv
science of social action. His initial theoretical focus
is on the subjective meaning that humans attach to their
actions and interactions.

Weber distinguishes between
four major types of social action:
–Purpose orientated
- The value of rationality
–Affective action
–Traditional action Typical for "technocratic thinking“.
E.g. a team of engineers build a passenger airplane trying to find the optimal proportion between its cost, capacity, fuel consumption, etc.
Or, parents decide to limit the number of their children because they cannot provide the desired level of comfort for more The protestant ethic "Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people."

The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness.

Suffering can be only overcome by communism Max Weber: Four types of social action Purpose-oriented rationality
Guided by custom or habit.
People engage in this type of action often unthinkingly,
because it is simply “always done.“ It is the predominant
motivation in the traditional society with few or no choices.
E.g. "getting married" Traditional action Based on the emotional state of the person
rather than in the rational weighing of means
and ends. Sentiments are powerful forces in
motivating human behaviour.
E.g. having a love affair with a married person because
of “falling in love”. Weber proposed that in modern society behaviour had come to be increasingly dominated by goal- oriented rationality and less and less by tradition, values or emotions. The value of rationalism Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 - 1900)
According to Nietzsche, the masses, whom he termed the herd or mob,
conform to tradition, whereas his idea
Übermensch is secure, independent, and
highly individualistic. His passions are
rationally controlled.
Concentrating on the real world, rather than on the rewards of the next world
promised by religion, the Übermensch
affirms life, including the suffering and
pain that accompany human existence.
Liberated from all values, except those
that he deems valid, the Übermensch is a
creator of values. Nietzsche maintained that all human behaviour is
motivated by the will to power. In its positive sense, the
will to power is not simply power over others, but the
power over oneself that is necessary for creativity.
Such power is manifested in the Übermensch's
independence, creativity, and originality.
Although Nietzsche explicitly denied that any Übermensch hat yet arisen, he mentions several
individuals who could serve as models: Socrates, Jesus,
Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Shakespeare, Goethe,
Julius Caesar, and Napoleon. Religion is the opium of the people "God is dead" Friedrich Nietzsche:
The ideal "Übermensch" Friedrich Nietzsche: The ideal Übermensch Affective action Anthropology of Religion .

The study of religious institutions and the comparison of religious beliefs and practices across cultures.

Theories of religion can be divided into substantive theories (focusing on what religion is) and functional or reductionist theories (focusing on what it does).
Study of humanity
Has origins in the natural sciences, the humanities, and social sciences.
The term "anthropology", derives from the Greek, anthropos, "human", and logia, "study", and was first used by François Péron when discussing his encounters with the Aborigines.
Anthropology's basic concerns are "What defines humans?", "Who are the ancestors of modern humans?", "What are humans' physical traits?", "How do humans behave?", "Why are there variations and differences among different groups of humans?", "How has the evolutionary past of Homo sapiens influenced its social organization and culture?" Anthropology Anthropology of Religion Emil Durkheim Durkheim argued that religion acted as a source of solidarity and identification for the individuals within a society, especially as a part of mechanical solidarity systems, and to a lesser, but still important extent in the context of organic solidarity.
Religion provided a meaning for life, it provided authority figures, and most importantly for Durkheim, it reinforced the morals and social norms held collectively by all within a society. Tylor Tylor defined religion as belief in supernatural beings and stated that this belief originated as explanations to the world.
Primitive people used human dreams in which spirits seemed to appear as an indication that the human mind could exist independent of a body. They used this by extension to explain life and death, and belief in the after life. James Frazer Sociology Sociology is the study of men considered as affecting and as affected by association," or, " the study of human association, including whatever conduces to it or modifies it."

" The analysis of a social institution or societal segment as a self-contained entity or in relation to society as a whole."
Anthony Giddens

"Sociology is the study of society" Society A society or a human society is a group of people related to each other through persistent relations such as social status, roles and social networks.
Human societies are characterized by patterns of relationships between individuals sharing a distinctive culture and institutions.
Used in the sense of an association, a society is a body of individuals outlined by the bounds of functional interdependence, possibly comprising characteristics such as national or cultural identity, social solidarity, language or hierarchical organization. In sociology, the concept of community has led to significant debate, and sociologists are yet to reach agreement on a definition of the term. There were ninety-four discrete definitions of the term by the mid-1950s.[1] Traditionally a "community" has been defined as a group of interacting people living in a common location. The word is often used to refer to a group that is organized around common values and is attributed with social cohesion within a shared geographical location, generally in social units larger than a household. Community One of the key figures in the institutionalization of the modern discipline of anthropology. In 1884, appointed to the first university post in anthropology in Britain, at Oxford
Studied primitive societies to define religious practices
Relied heavily on the accounts of European travelers, few of whom were conversant enough in the languages and cultures of the peoples they described to provide accurate and detailed accounts of religious belief.
Consequently, Tylor depended upon descriptions of ritual in his attempt to infer a generalized idea of "primitive religion" that he argued was centered on "animism," the belief that humans, but also animals and even inanimate objects, have souls. Edward B. Tylor Edward B. Tylor James George Frazer (1854–1941) followed Tylor's theories to a great extent but he distinguished between magic and religion.
He asserted that magic relied on an uncritical belief of primitive people. For example, the amount of rainfall may be invoked by the primitive man by sprinkling water on the ground.
His most famous work, The Golden Bough (1890), documents and details similar magical and religious beliefs across the globe. Frazer posited that human belief progressed through three stages: primitive magic, replaced by religion, in turn replaced by science. Emphasis on the necessity for hard work as a component of a person's calling and worldly success and as a sign of personal salvation
The protestant ethic broke the hold of tradition encouraging people to apply themselves rationally to their work.
Thus, the Catholic idea of good works was transformed into an obligation to work diligently Anthropologists and sociologists
perspectives on religion (1832–1917) Substansive Theories Substansive Theories Substansive Theories Functional Theories "The iron cage" \ Contrary to Marx’s understanding of religion as illusory compensation Weber demonstrated that religion can provide a powerful motivation for a major social change. Emile Durkheim (1858 , † 1917), Sociological and anthropological approaches
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