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Symbolic interactionism

Rising from the concept that our world is socially constructed, symbolic interactionism studies the symbols and interactions of everyday life. To interactionists, beliefs and experiences are not sacred unless individuals in a society regard them as sacred. The Star of David in Judaism, the cross in Christianity, and the crescent and star in Islam are examples of sacred symbols. Interactionists are interested in what these symbols communicate. Because interactionists study one-on-one, everyday interactions between individuals, a scholar using this approach might ask questions focused on this dynamic. The interaction between religious leaders and practitioners, the role of religion in the ordinary components of everyday life, and the ways people express religious values in social interactions—all might be topics of study to an interactionist.

Summary

Religion describes the beliefs, values, and practices related to sacred or spiritual concerns. Social theorist Émile Durkheim defined religion as a “unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things” (1915). Max Weber believed religion could be a force for social change. Karl Marx viewed religion as a tool used by capitalist societies to perpetuate inequality. Religion is a social institution, because it includes beliefs and practices that serve the needs of society. Religion is also an example of a cultural universal, because it is found in all societies in one form or another. Functionalism, conflict theory, and interactionism all provide valuable ways for sociologists to understand religion.

Short answer

List some ways that you see religion having social control in the everyday world.

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What are some sacred items that you’re familiar with? Are there some objects, such as cups, candles, or clothing, that would be considered profane in normal settings but are considered sacred in special circumstances or when used in specific ways?

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Consider a religion that you are familiar with, and discuss some of its beliefs, behaviors, and norms. Discuss how these meet social needs. Then, research a religion that you don’t know much about. Explain how its beliefs, behaviors, and norms are like/unlike the other religion.

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Further research

For more discussion on the study of sociology and religion, check out the following blog: (External Link) . The Immanent Frame is a forum for the exchange of ideas about religion, secularism, and society by leading thinkers in the social sciences and humanities.

Read more about functionalist views on religion at (External Link) , symbolic interactionist view on religion at (External Link) , and women in the clergy at (External Link) .

Some would argue that the Protestant work ethic is still alive and well in the United States. Read British historian Niall Ferguson’s view at (External Link) .

References

Barkan, Steven E., and Susan Greenwood. 2003. “Religious Attendance and Subjective Well-Being among Older Americans: Evidence from the General Social Survey.” Review of Religious Research 45:116–129.

Durkheim, Émile. 1933 [1893]. Division of Labor in Society . Translated by George Simpson. New York: Free Press.

Durkheim, Émile. 1947 [1915].  The Elementary Forms of Religious Life . Translated by J. Swain. Glencoe, IL: Free Press.

Ellway, P. 2005. “The Rational Choice Theory of Religion: Shopping for Faith or Dropping your Faith?” Retrieved February 21, 2012 ( (External Link) ).

Fasching, Darrel, and Dell deChant. 2001. Comparative Religious Ethics: A Narrative Approach . Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwel.

Finke, R., and R. Stark. 1988. “Religious Economies and Sacred Canopies: Religious Mobilization in American Cities, 1906.” American Sociological Review 53:41–49.

Greeley, Andrew. 1989. “Protestant and Catholic: Is the Analogical Imagination Extinct?” American Sociological Review 54:485–502.

Hechter, M. 1997. “Sociological Rational Choice Theory.” Annual Review of Sociology 23:191–214. Retrieved January 20, 2012 ( (External Link) ).

Hightower, Jim. 1975. Eat Your Heart Out: Food Profiteering in America . New York: Crown Publishers, Inc.

Marx, Karl. 1973 [1844]. Contribution to Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right . Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

Ritzer, George. 1993. The McDonaldization of Society . Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge.

Weber, Max. 2002 [1905]. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism and Other Writings , translated by Peter R. Baehr and Gordon C. Wells. New York: Penguin.

Questions & Answers

what is gender studies
Muhammad Reply
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Rakshita Reply
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Prisca
What is gender studies
Muhammad
it means either of the two sexes (Male /female)
Prisca
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Muhammad
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Rakshita
gender studies is the study of the roles that men and women play in our society ...how those roles have been shaped..what factors have influenced them ...and their pros and cons etc
Babar
is sociology similar to political science
connect
hey guys iam a new member of this community can u tell me exactly what sociology is to be real I don't know anything about it iam interested to learn
connect
sociology is the study of social life...society, culture, social changes etc
Babar
the study of human behaviour and how interact with each other
Kimoya
what is Becker 1963
Karen Reply
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Poonam Reply
"Logy" means study n "social" is society.
Reemiya
Socius and logos
Silent
waah Raj
Rishit
Definition of sociology
Shashi Reply
sociology is the study of social life, social change, and the social causes and consequences of human behavior.
Sunny
as the implies it is the study of both sex in the environment
Philip
what is culture
Anuman Reply
To me what culture is what you grow up with in your family. What are some of the customs and ritual that you follow. Your parent maybe born in there country, while u are born in the United States. You can clash both cultures together or identity yourself more with one than the other.
Josephine
There are people who follow there culture like a book and there are people who don't follow there cultural as much.
Josephine
culture is what makes you more like your environ and imprison your thought process.
Noor
how a researcher can conduct his theoretical framework
AMINU Reply
what are the major ways that are use to prevent our youth from drug abuse
AMINU Reply
1.keep them engaged in positive activities like study,sports. 2.Provide them jobs. 3.Married people are less inclined towards drug as they have to shoulder family responsibility. 4.Law system also need to play their role to control drug mafias. 5.rehabilitation centers for drug abused should be ther
deepak
would love to know others thought on this
deepak
keep them engaged in positive activities
Rizwana
implement the Law is one and forcing the law is two, which is the weak point of the government to stop drug abuse.
Pupa
tackling corruption, poverty and illiteracy is very essential
Farous
how does poverty have an impact on drug abuse. In my opinion, I think if you don't have money to eat how do you get money for drugs.
Eunice
Characteristics of culture
Yusuf Reply
.
deepak
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Yusuf
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Rizwana
How has sociologists views shaped the way we think of society today?
seba Reply
why sociological imagination called sociological lens?
Crisel Reply
since the views of sociology derive from the minds of those who think as they do, this is called the sociological lens. Our imagination is only limited to how we think and we perceive things as a result of thinking vigorously. A sociological imagination focuses on the depth of a concept or idea...
seba
I agree what seba said.
Josephine
what are the measures that are used to cure and prevent our society from repping
AMINU Reply
what is Hawthorne effect
Karen Reply
It is when the respondent is influenced by the researcher For example the respondent might lie to impress the researcher thus Hawthorne effect is include
Soumeyrah
what are the measures that are used to prevent and resolve suicide among people in the society?
Edah Reply
encouraging them not to spend alot of time alone
Rannah
hllo
Yalam
what is socilogy
Yalam
First of all listen to them..... They need someone who can listen to their problems without judging them or giving them stupid suggestions..... Then gradually make them believe that they are important their existence matters. Make friends with them... Express your love and care towards them.
Miss
Some people use a suicide plan. I know it sounds bad but it is a plan on what to do if you feel you might comit suicide. It list things you need to do to prepare for your mental instability, people who need to be alerted, someone to call, and if needed medical attention instructions.
KhaliCA
move closer to them and help them out.
Tunde
contempory socialogy
Karen Reply
do you have books to download on contempory socialogy
Karen

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Source:  OpenStax, Introduction to sociology 2e. OpenStax CNX. Jan 20, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11762/1.6
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