Final Exam - Sarah Drumm Development of Sociological Theory...

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Sarah Drumm Development of Sociological Theory Final Exam May 2, 2007 1) What is the social function of religion according to Durkheim? What evidence does he find in Australian aboriginal life to prove his theory of religion? The function of religion, according to Durkheim, was to act as a source of solidarity and identification for the individuals in a society. Religion reinforced the morals and social norms held collectively by all members in a society. He saw it as a critical part of society which helped to bind members together. His theory of religion applied not only to complex European societies but also to mechanical aboriginal societies. He found similarities in all religions and felt that all religions served the same common purpose to unite members of a society together. For example he found evidence of rituals, the sacred, and the profane in an Australian aboriginal society that he felt served the same purpose as religion in the more complex European society. They worshipped with rituals and a shaman, their religion had elements of the sacred and the profane, and he felt that their primitive religion helped them to come together as social group. 2) How is the (comparative) methodology of Weber different from the evolutionary methodology of Durkheim and Marx? Explain with the help of examples from their theories/findings/concepts. Weber had a comparative historical methodology while Weber and Durkheim had evolutionary methodologies. Weber thought that all societies were different while Durkheim and Marx looked at societies from an evolutionary standpoint and thought that the differences were negligible. Weber argued that ideas came first and created the economic change in America while Marx would argue that it was an evolution based on material changes and that the ideas came from the ruling class afterwards. Durkheim argues that religion is present in all societies and that it serves the same purpose in connecting individuals. Weber would argue that religions are different and that the ideas of the protestant religion were what shaped American Capitalism. In short both Durkheim and Marx believed that societies are similar and evolve similarly while Marx believed that America was unique and had specific historical events which shaped the country.
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Sarah Drumm Development of Sociological Theory Final Exam May 2, 2007 3) What is an ideal type according to Weber? Explain with the help of an example. Where does the ideal type derive from? What is its use in sociology? Weber wrote that “an ideal type is formed by the one-sided accentuation of one or more points of view and by the synthesis of a great many diffuse, discrete, more or less present and occasionally absent concrete individual phenomena, which are arranged according to those one-sidedly emphasized viewpoints into a unified analytical construct”. An ideal type is formed from characteristics and elements of a given phenomena but it is not meant to correspond to all of the characteristics of any one particular case. It is an
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course SOCIOLOGY 313 taught by Professor Shruti during the Spring '07 term at Rutgers.

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Final Exam - Sarah Drumm Development of Sociological Theory...

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