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Sociology: A Brief Introduction, 4/e
Richard T. Schaefer, DePaul University

Religion And Education

Learning Objectives

Religion and education are cultural universals, found throughout the world, although in varied forms. This chapter examines the dimensions and functions of religion, types of religious organizations, sociological views of education, and schools as examples of formal organizations.

After studying this chapter you should be able to understand the following:


1

Émile Durkheim stressed the social impact of religion and attempted to understand individual religious behavior within the context of the larger society.

2

Religion serves the functions of integrating people in a diverse society and providing social support in time of need.

3

Max Weber saw a connection between religious allegiance and capitalistic behavior through a religious orientation known as the Protestant ethic.

4

Liberation theology uses the church in a political effort to alleviate poverty and social injustice.

5

From a Marxist point of view, religion serves to reinforce the social control of those in power. It lessens the possibility of collective political action that can end capitalist oppression and transform society.

6

Religious behavior is expressed through beliefs, rituals, and religious experience.

7

Sociologists have identified four basic types of religious organization: the ecclesia, the denomination, the sect, and the new religious movement (NRM) or cult. Advances in communication have led to a new type of church organization-the electronic church.

8

Transmission of knowledge and bestowal of status are manifest functions of education. Among its latent functions are transmitting culture, promoting social and political integration, maintaining social control, and serving as an agent of social change.

9

In the view of conflict theorists, education serves as an instrument of elite domination through the hidden curriculum and by bestowing status unequally.

10

Teacher expectations about a student's performance can sometimes have an impact on the student's actual achievements.

11

Today, most schools in the United States are organized in a bureaucratic fashion. Weber's five basic characteristics of bureaucracy are all evident in schools.

12

Since 1970, the proportion of older adults enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities has been rising steadily, in part because of sweeping changes in business, industry, and technology. For many Americans, education has become a lifelong pursuit.

13

Home schooling has become a viable alternative to traditional public and private schools. More than a million children in the United States are now educated at home.

14

How much religion-if any-should be permitted in the schools is a matter of intense debate in U.S. society today.