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Introduction to Sociology: Religion Siniša Zrinščak December 16, 2014

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Presentation on theme: "Introduction to Sociology: Religion Siniša Zrinščak December 16, 2014"— Presentation transcript:

1 Introduction to Sociology: Religion Siniša Zrinščak December 16, 2014

2 Sociology and religion What to study and how? From institution to very personal feelings? Different religions in the same way? Marx – religion as an illusion – religion as a reflection of alienation Weber – religion as an agent of change (how religion stimulated Protestantism); religion as a way of explaining why people suffer and die (theodicy); rational character of modern world = disenchantment of the world

3 Durkheim – religion as a basis of the collective conscience, as a basis of social Basic (universal) function to be found in the simplest form – Australian aboriginals… scared and profane … two broad definitions…

4 Substantive definitions – what religion is, common content of all religions? “belief in spiritual beings” “in divine beings”, “supra empirical”...– what about practice, Eastern religions...? P. Berger: “human production of a sacred cosmos” - concept of “sacred” Need for broader definitions, problems of operationalization in different social and cultural contexts

5 Functional definitions – what religion does M. Yinger: “a system of beliefs and practices by means of which a group of people struggles with the ultimate problems of human life” – functions: creating meaning, empowerment, courage, integration... Not ethnocentric! But: really, always, other phenomenons with the same consequences...?

6 Durkheim: “a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things, that is to say, things set apart and forbidden – beliefs and practices which unite into one singles moral community called a Church, all those who adhere to them” “sacred” + “integration” Definition – just and academic issue? Definition and Church-state relations – e.g. which religion to be recognized / supported / tolerated….

7 What religion is today? Secularization theory – the most influential and the most debated Modernization, rationalization, functional differentiation, pluralization + privatization K. Dobbelaere: secularization at three levels - societal (laicization due to differentiation) - organizational (adaptation to secular values or sacralization, NRMs...) - individual (privatized, individual, “bricolage”, “patchwork”...)

8 Relations between levels – mechanical, or? Influence of actors, and other processes... But: secular Europe and religious America A global outlook? Sociological debates: from “civil religion” to “public religions” „global religions”…in a modern world R. Bellah: “a set of religious beliefs, symbols and rituals growing out of the American historical experience interpreted in the dimension of transcendence” – legitimation of the American past and present

9 A common set of principles, a common religious basis for moral order? Beliefs, practices, and symbols that a nations hold sacred (Yamane) But, religion and nation – e.g. use (or misuse?) of religion in wars in fr. Yugoslavia – from overlapping of ethnic and religious identity to destruction of “inimical” religious objects

10 Casanova – functional diferentiation – yes, but not (just historical options): privatization and declining of religion Visible and influential in a public arena Market theory – demand and supply – religious demands – and religious institutions which offer goods and services

11 Two premises: rational choice, and constant religious demands Consequences: pluralization (more and competitive offers: more religious) = (if) adequate for US, adequate for other contexts?

12 Religion and globalization – from religious America / secular Europe to global look – what about the world in general? From „religion and globalization” to „global religions”: - migration - spread of religions through missions, use of new technologies - religion and social processes in a world

13 Religion in empirical research Three major components: beliefs, rituals, experience Dimensions – as researched in the EVS: - belief - experience (“subjective religiosity”) - practice (+ public role) -consequential dimension Knowledge (not in the EVS) Differences among dimensions – why and how to interpret?

14 EVS- VWS data CountryBelongingReligious persons Practice – at least once a month Change Change Change Austria88,1-5,375,0-14,342,5-14,4 Croatia88,7-4,579,9-0,952,5-9,9 Czech R.33,7-5,840,4-9,111,7+1,1 Finland88,1-12,461,6-12,614,0-4,0 France57,5-6,544,4-1,811,9+0,6 Greece96,0+0,974,8+11,933,5+9,9 Hungary57,1-3,857,6-5,217,6-3,0 Italy82,2-3,083,2-1,753,7-6,1 Poland95,7-1,591,8-8,278,2-8,4 Portugal89,0-2,185,4-3,951,2-3,7 Rusian F.50,5+12,560, ,1+5,3 Slovakia76,8+3,076,7+0,349,8-1,5 Slovenia70,0+1,064,6+3,030,7-4,8

15 EVS - Croatia, 2008

16 1999 and 2008


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