Together these three researchers conducted an extensive ethnographic study of a local congregation of Mormons. Mike, Nick, and Ashley researched the history and hierarchy of the church, studied the services, and interviewed church members and the area bishop. They created a video analysis of the church that offers a rich blend of researcher reflections, first person interviews, and secondary research about what it means to worship with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Sociologists study religion the same way they study other social institutions, like education or government.
The aim is primarily to understand religions, but included in trying to understand religions is the aim of trying to predict what religions will eventually do or what will become of religions.
To do this, sociologists employ demographic techniques, survey analysis, ethnography, and various other methodological approaches. It is important to note at the beginning of this chapter that sociologists study religion not to prove, disprove or normatively evaluate religion.
Sociologists aren't interested in whether a religion is right or wrong. This requires sociologists to assume a relativistic perspective that basically takes a neutral stance toward issues of right or wrong or true or false. That said, the social scientific study of religion can be challenging from a faith standpoint as it provides alternative, naturalistic explanations for many elements of religion e.
Definitions of Religion[ edit ] The starting point for any study of religion should begin with a definition of the concept. This is particularly important in the study of religion because the definition determines which groups will be included in the analysis.
Three general definitions have been proposed, each of which will be discussed briefly. Each definition has its merits and detriments, but what one often finds is that the definition of religion employed by a particular researcher or in the investigation of a particular topic depends on the question being asked.
Profane[ edit ] Perhaps the most well known definition of religion is that provided by Emile Durkheim. The sacred elements of social life are what make up religion. For example, the Torah in Judaism is sacred and treated with reverence and respect.
The reverential treatment of the Torah would be contrasted with all sorts of more mundane things like cars or toys, which, for most people, are not considered sacred. Yet, the acute reader will be quick to point out that for some, cars and even toys are considered sacred and treated almost as reverentially as the Torah is treated in Judaism.
This introduces one of the most significant criticisms of this definition - the typology can include things that are not traditionally understood to be religious like cars or toys.
As a result, the definition is extremely broad and can encompass substantial elements of social life. For instance, while most people in the United States would not consider their nationalism to be religious, they do hold the flag, the nation's capitol, and other national monuments to be sacred.
Under this definition, nationalism would be considered religion. Religion as Existential Questioning[ edit ] Another definition of religion among social scientists particularly social psychologists views religion as any attempt to answer existential questions e.
This definition casts religion in a functional light as it is seen as serving a specific purpose in society. For instance, using this definition, someone who attends religious services weekly but makes no attempt to answer existential questions would not be considered religious.
For a critique of this definition, see Dobbelaere . The Greek god Zeus. Religion as Supernature[ edit ] The third social scientific definition views religion as the collective beliefs and rituals of a group relating to supernature.
This definition is not without its problems as well, as some argue it can also include atheists who have a specific position against the existence of a god or gods.This course adopts a thematic approach to studying the complex connections between religion and American culture.
In spring , we will focus especially on the intersections of religion with race, law, national identity, and popular culture. We will analyze selected case studies from a variety of theoretical and methodological perspectives. Keywords Religion, Entrepreneurialism, Self employed workers, United States of America Paper type Research paper Therefore, the Lord God sent him forth to till the ground (Genesis ) Introduction The Amish people are an offshoot of the Mennonites, a religious group that was established in , in Zurich, Switzerland.
The Batek of Malaysia The Batik is an indigenous tribes living in the rainforest of the peninsula of Malaysia. They live in camps composed of five to six nuclear families. They are mostly foragers although the occasionally practice horticulture.
To survive the tribes relies on hunting, gathering and. Anthropology coursework, term papers on Anthropology, Anthropology essays "Things Fall Apart" - short summary of the book, analysis of African Culture before by appearance of white man.
Things fall apart, is the story of an Ibo village- Umuofia, which takes place in the late s. - An Ethnography of Modern Witches The growing practice of Neo-Paganism in America has caused many to turn their heads. The misunderstanding of the religion has caused many to equate the practitioners with the popular conception of typical "witches," that perform black magic rituals, satanic sacrifices, and engage in devil-inspired orgies.
As geographers we study issues surrounding gender, national origin, language, culture, ethnicity, religion, and race. We work to understand the geographical implications of the larger question by studying the distribution, density, diffusion, diaspora diversity, and dynamics of migration, culture, language, religion, and ethnicity.