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religion marxism and functionalism

religion marxism and functionalism

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Published by O'shy Lugia Yvas
sociology
sociology

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10/01/2014

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NAME

:

REECE NORTON-FISHER

SUBJECT:

SOCIOLOGY

FORM:

6B

TEACHER:

MR. HUMBER

SCHOOL:

WOLMERS

DATE:

JANUARY

1

......……....………………………………………2 Aims and Objective…………………………………………………………………............…………………………………………………………...8 The Marxist Perspective on Religion…............. ……………………….........7 The Functionalist Perspective On Religion…………………………………………………………………………….....TABLE OF CONTENTS Statement of Problem ………………………............5 Literature Review……………………………………………………….……....…12 Revivalism…………………………………………………………………………………14 Functionalist Theory on Kumina …………………………………………………….15 And Revivalism Marxist Theory on Kumina and Revivalism.10 Kumina………………………………………………………………………………….16 Conclusion……………………………………………………………………………..6 Introduction………………………………………………………………………….17 2 ... ….....……………………………………………...…........

STATEMENT OF PROBLEM \ TO WHAT EXTENT DO FUNCTIONALISTS AND MARXISTS ACCOUNT FOR KUMINA AND REVIVALISM? 3 .

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES This research paper attempts to determine the following:The Functionalist Perspective on Religion The Marxist Perspective on Religion Looking at the Pocomania and Revivalism Religion and how the Functionalist Theory and The Marxist Theory places them in society. 4 .

5 .

Christopher Humber. The Functionalist Theories and Marxist Theories are two totally different perspectives. On the other hand The Marxist Theory sees Religion as an illusionary tool which keep the working class in a state of both mental and physical oppression where they accept their way of life and does not seek to rise above it mainly because of the benefits they will gain in the afterlife.LITERATURE REVIEW Haralambos and Holborn in Sociology Themes and Perspective (2008) gives the major Theories on Religion. Wolmers Boys. print and electronic material and lecture notes used in study. The book also highlights several different theories on religion whereby we look at The Marxist and Functionalist Theories. 6 . Nasser Mustapha in Sociology for Caribbean Students (2009) looks at religion. religious beliefs and theirs practices in the Caribbean. social control and social solidarity that they bring. Lecturer Sociology . He sees Religion as an opiate for the masses. The Functionalists sees Religions helping because of shared values and moral beliefs for the survival of a society because of the social order.

The Oxford Dictionary defines religion as: 1) The belief in a superhuman controlling power especially in a personal God or Gods entitled to obedience and worship. and impact of religion in society examine the effects (Sociology for Caribbean Students. There are a few definitions which are listed below. An example is provided by Yinger who defined religion as a system of belief and practices by means of which a group of people struggles with the ultimate problems of human life (quoted in Hamilton. 1995). religion is seen as playing an integral part in the lives of its people. focusing on Kumina and Revivalism and the role that The Functionalist Theory and The Marxist Theory plays when applied. 2009). It is seen as an important aspect of social life and is linked to the issues of social integration and conflict between different groups within a society or societies.INTRODUCTION There is no single definition for Religion that would be completely accurate as because of the many complexities any single definition may be seen as inadequate or incomplete. In the Caribbean. 2) The expression of this in worship. Sociology on seeking to understand the role. FUNCTIONALIST THEORY ON RELIGION 7 . We will be looking religion in the Caribbean. significance. 3) A particular system of faith and worship 4) Life under Monastic vow 5) A thing that one is devoted to Sociological Themes and Perspectives (Haralambos and Holborn 2007 edition) states that one way of defining religion is to see it in terms of the functions it performs.

the Functionalist perspective on religion is probably the most influential interpretation of religion. Based on the findings presented by French Sociologist Emile Durkheim. Religion is an important aspect of this process as through religion a set of unifying practices and beliefs but also providing a way in which people can interpret and give meaning to the world. theoretical perspective in sociology and many other social sciences. Durkheim argues that the function of religious rituals is to maintain social solidarity by affirming the moral superiority of society over its individual members. Durkheim based his findings by using the religion of various groups of Australian Aborigines to develop his argument. Functionalism is the first theory in sociology. He believed that social life could only exist if values were shared and society integrated into a coherent whole.BY EMILE DURKHEIM Functionalism is the oldest and still the dominant. 8 . Functionalists see religion in terms of the contribution that religion makes to the well being of society. He sees religion as based upon this division and also beliefs it is a unified system of beliefs and practices related to sacred things He believes that sacred things must be symbols and what they represent must be established (Haralambos and Holborn 2007). Durkheim theory argues that all societies divide the world into two categories the sacred and the profane. its contribution to social stability and the value consensus.

control social solidarity or cooperation. There would be no society without it.The relationship between God and humans is seen as a reflection of the relationship between humans and society. Functionalists position is weak on socieities with more than one faith. Religion reinforces the collective conscience Durkheim’s theory is flawed his critics argue that he studied only a small number of Aboriginal groups on which he based his findings. The sample is thought to have been too small to generalize about Aboriginal beliefs much less religion. MARXIST PERSPECTIVE ON RELIGION 9 . there would be no social order. Functionalist Perspectives emphasizes the positive contribution of religion to society and tends to ignore dysfunctional aspects. Without collective conscience.

In a class society religion is used as a mask that prevents the working class from developing class consciousness that enables them to see the world as formed and shaped by the efforts of human rather than a divine force. Marx believed the ruling class used religion as a means of control. In doing so they will never rise above their oppression and will not complain because they see suffering way of enduring because of the benefits derived at the end of their lives. further as exploiting the relationship between the owners of the means of production and owners of labour. In Marx’s ideal society the means of production are communally owned which results in the disappearance of social classes. It is used to control the working class and Religion according to Marx is seen the strengthen and support the interests of the ruling class. They are willing to be deprived of material possessions.Karl Marx the Geman philosopher. political economist.. Capitalists do not mind this as they use religion as a tool of exploitation. social revolutionary and primary theorist of Marxism had a radically different perspective on religion. It distorts reality and gives the working class false hope and prevents them from developing class consciousness. The working class was seen as using religion as a form of protest against their poor economic conditions. Religion is seen as a distortion of reality which provides many of the deceptions that form the basis of ruling class ideology and false class consciousness. Religion is an illusion 10 . Religion for him is seen as an illusion which allows the ruling class to dominate and enjoy the privileges of the working class.

Religion is seen by Marx as a distortion of reality. People are distracted from any revolutionary action. KUMINA 11 . In doing so the ruling class maintains their power because the working -class are not able to see their true situation and their real interests. Marxist theory is based on the theory that God is made by humans and this was used by earlier societies to explain how the world came about. It is ideological and is the foundation upon which the ruling class forms their ideology and false consciousness. Religion disguises and makes acceptable the exploitative relationships of society by suggesting that the world is shaped by God’s will and is therefore not capable of changing. It is seen as a collection of mythical thoughts that brings justification and legitimate the subordination of the subject class.which eases the pain produced by exploitation and oppression.

For example. It occurred among post-emancipation African contract labourers sent to Jamaica in the late in 19th century. Kongo . Central to Kumina’s religious beliefs and practices is the possession by and communication with the “spirits” . The ancestors play an integral part in the religious beliefs and practices of Kumina practitioners in Jamaica. mainly entertainment purposes and country. Marrying into a Bongo family is one avenue to become apart of of Kumina Nation. as well as with each other is heavily influenced example by Kikongo in grammar and vocabulary. Machunde. Moyenge.Kumina according to an article in the Jamaica Gleaner is the most African of all religious cults to be found in Jamaica. Possession is a term describing the 12 . Kumina refers to both a religion and dance.rhythmor to play a musical instrument. People from Kumina families are given the title Bongo.Igbo and Yoruba. melody. Kumina societies are small family based communities or nations. Kumina nations are led by a King and Queen. Some nations include Mondongo. Kumina ia a AfroJamaican religion influenced mainly by the Bantu peoples from the Congo-Angola area. used during the private religious ceremonies. and ritual. Kumina was further developed during the mid to late nineteenth century. Kumina communities follows the general local character of African religions in Jamaica. the Kikongo word “kumu” means meter. Dances include the Bailo. The language used in Kumina rituals for singing and communication with ancestors. dance. The rituals (Kumina plays are used to connect the spirit and corporal worlds with music (drumming and singing). special initiation is the other avenue. language. but is thought to be derived from the Kongo in Central Africa.

flashing lights. Myal is given given greater stress because of its association with guidance and healing. The people who were taken from their homeland needed a time to get back to their roots. a small area in St.temporary inhabiting the living. striking matches. In Kumina Myal is the good and obeah is the bad. This was 13 . and lime in the process is explained. Kumina is mainly practiced in St. The importance of the use of white rum. The importance of drums at these sessions is evidenced by the respect and position afforded the drummer within the cult. as too the importance of colour and their relation to the type of ritual being performed . James and Waterloo REVIVALISM The practice of Revivalism in the Caribbean was a result of the time of the great revival. Thomas .

He originated from August Town. The rites and rituals such as festivals helped to solidify the social bonds while creating the basis for identity among its members. During these festivals the dancing and drumming provided the spiritual awakening of ancestors to join in worship. Probably the most known revivalist in Jamaica is Alexander Bedward..where Afro-Caribbean Religion was one such group to emerge. drumming and dancing counter clockwise and spirit possession are all essential aspects of the revivalist worship. singing. Revivalism has its genesis in both Christian and African traditions. Water plays a critical role in in the rituals of revivalism. Pocamania.The use of plants and herbs in healing ceremonies. KUMINA AND REVIVALISM Functionalists believe that religion reinforces the collective conscience of society. Emile Durkheim believed that social life was impossible without shared values and moral beliefs which 14 . This is the medium used by spirits to appear to revivalists. and began in Jamaica between 1860 and 18 61 as part for a religious movement called the great revival. He preached and baptized by a river that ran through the community. Obeah and Revivalism while containing many characteristics of each other are different. Dreams and visions play an important role in Revivalism. In most revival groups were located in Western and South Western parts of Jamaica. They believe that w ater has healing properties. St Andrew. The ex-slaves had continued to maintain and practice religious retentions despite being illegal to do so. FUNCTIONALIST THEORY.

15 . They are small family based communities or nations. They live and work closely with each other to keep their traditions. Religion provides believers with greater power to direct human action. The attitude of respect that is shown by the group of worshippers to that which is sacred will also be emulated when it Is applied their social duties and obligations. He concluded that religious worship is really the worship of the social group of society MARXIST THEORY AND KUMINA AND REVIVALISM The working class’ attention has been diverted from the real source of their oppression so they work without complaining which keeps the ruling class in power.Durkheim believes the worship of Gods is the worship of the souls of ancestors. This is evident in both Kumina’s and Revivalism dependence on the spirits of their ancestors whom they communicate with and are dependent on for their spiritual guidance . This is evidenced in Kumina and Reivalism. Religion is seen as promoting social solidarity as it strengthens the unity of the group. In Kumina there are communities where they form a common bond. Religion promotes social solidarity by strengthening the group. practices and religion going.form s the collective conscience. people recognize the importance of the social group and their dependence on it. Durkheim believes in Gods or spirits which usually provides the basis for religious ceremonies. In a society where there are worshippers. He also believed that it is through the souls of individuals that the collective conscience is realized. The worship of society helps to strengthen the values and moral beliefs.

The Lord of the Manor abuse of power was often ignored by the church and in exchange the church would be given a lot of money. In the words of Marx and Engel who was also a German political philosopher and collaborated with Marx and co-developed with Marx the communist theory: ‘the parson has ever gone hand in hand with the landlord”.Religion is seen as a tool of exploitation as often supported by the ruling class to further their interests. . The people who form these religions belongs to the working class One of Marx’s most famous quotations on religion is seeing it as drawing an analogy between it and a drug it was seen as an opiate in that none of the people’s problems are solved but it merely dulls the pain and therefore most religious movements usually originate from the oppressed. Both Revivalism and Functionalism is viewed by Marx as keeping the people in a constant state of oppression. This was evident in Feudal England where Religion was an instrument of oppression. dance and contacting ancestral spirits. CONCLUSION Both Kumina and Revivalism are heavily influenced by natives of Jamaica and their African ancestry. 16 They both incorporate music. Enslaved .

Even though these practices were against the law during slavery. social control. Organization of both Kumina and Revival communities follows the general local character of African Religions in Jamaica. 17 . For The Functionalists this is necessary for survival as without these shared values there would be no social order. they found ways for masking deities and other religious practices in the Christian religion as it was seen as natural for survival.Africans In Jamaica found a way of staying connected to each other and keeping their traditions alive through these religions. social solidarity or cooperation And with these missing there would be no society.

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