Formal Religion as a Social Control Mechanism



Is formal religion a mechanism that society uses to achieve a degree or portion of social control? Take a few minutes and describe what you consider to be the function of formal religion. By formal religion we mean the organized church.

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Religion, for Durkheim, is not imaginary, although he does deprive it of what many believers find essential. Religion is very real; it is an expression of society itself, and indeed, there is no society that does not have religion. We perceive as individuals a force greater than ourselves and give that perception a supernatural face. We then express ourselves religiously in groups, which for Durkheim makes the symbolic power greater. Religion is an expression of our collective consciousness, which is the fusion of all of our individual consciousness, which then creates a reality of its own.

The Functionalist Perspective on Religion




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