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Socilology : practical Sociology - Essay Example

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Religion is clearly a cultural universal; religious practices are evident in all societies. At present, an estimated 4 billion people belong to the world's many religious beliefs. In contemporary industrial societies, scientific and technological aspects of life including the social institution of religion.
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Download file to see previous pages At the same time other social institutions - such as the economy, politics and education - maintain their own sets of norms independent of religious guidance.
Like religion, education is a cultural universal. In a sense, education is an important aspect of socialization - the lifelong process of learning the attitudes, values and behavior appropriate to individuals as members of a particular culture. However, socialization may also take place through interactions with parents, friends, and even strangers. Socialization result as well from exposure to books, films, television and other forms of communications. When such learning is explicit and formalized- when people consciously teach others to adopt the social role of the learner - this process is called education.
The research focuses on religion and education as they have emerged in modern industrial society. The approaches that Emile Durkheim first introduced are being used by later sociologists in studying religion. The basic function of religion as a source of societal integration and social control and as means of providing social support has also been explored through other researches. In the past, particular attention was given to the insights of Karl Marx and Max Weber regarding the relationship between religion and social change.
Functionalists stress the importance of education in transmitting culture, promoting social and political integration, maintaining social control and promoting social change. To conflict theorists, however, education preserves distinctions based on social class, race, ethnicity and gender, instead of promoting equality. Interactionists generally focus on micro-level classroom dynamics such as how teachers' expectations about students affect the students' actual achievements.
Since religion like Protestantism and Catholicism is considered a cultural universal, it not surprising that it fulfills several basic functions within human societies. In sociological terms, these include both manifest and latent functions. Among the manifest functions of religion are defining the spiritual world and giving meaning to the divine. Because of its beliefs concerning people's relationship to a beyond, religion provides an explanation for events that seemed difficult to understand.
By contrast, latent functions of religion are unintended, covert, or hidden. Church services provide a manifest function by offering a forum for religious worship; at the same time, they fulfill a latent function as a meeting ground for unattached members. In viewing religion as a social institution, functionalists evaluate its impact on human societies. The first two functions of religion that were previously discussed in researches are integration and social control which are oriented toward the larger society. Thus they are best understood from a macro level viewpoint in terms of the relationship between religion and society as a whole. The third function - providing social support - is more oriented toward the individual can be more understood more effectively from a micro level viewpoint. The fourth function, promoting social change, is illustrated using Max Weber's macro level concept of the Protestant ethic.
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The research article is entitled "Attitude toward Christianity among secondary school pupils in Northern Ireland: shifts in denominational differences" written by Leslie Francis, Mandy Robbins, Christopher Lewis and Philip Barnes. The research can be considered ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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