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For steves sociology class …

For steves sociology class

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  • 1. Religion Religion and Postmodernity
  • 2. The Collapse of Metanarratives (1)
    • Religious practice and affiliation have decreased
    • This is particularly notable in the case of the “big” religions such as Christianity in Britain
    • And could be seen as a symptom of the collapse of metanarratives such as religion
  • 3.  
  • 4. The Collapse of Metanarratives (2)
    • HOWEVER at the same time, faith in other metanarratives has declined, particularly science
    • Consequently, people are turning to a mix of belief systems to explain the world.
    • So whilst major religions have declined, smaller religions have flourished
    • Heelas (1996) has shown that people are increasingly turning to “new age” movements
    • These are often seen as offering legitimate alternatives to science.
    • For instance, “alternative medicines” (e.g. acupuncture, herbal medicines, etc) .
  • 5.  
  • 6. Hybridity (1)
    • Many NRM’s are syncretic
    • i.e they borrow from different religions
    • And are often an eclectic mix of different narratives – a characteristic of post modernity.
    • For instance, Scientology mixes psychoanalysis, science-fiction and spirituality.
    • This reflects the postmodern symptom of hybridity
  • 7. Hybridity (2)
    • There has also been an emergence of spiritual shoppers
    • People pick-and-mix their religious beliefs, dipping in and out of different beliefs
    • See Madonna’s mix of a catholic name and wearing of a crucifix with a claim to follow Kabala. This has, though, made religious identity more superficial ( simulacra )
  • 8. A Response to Uncertainty
    • The collapse of metanarratives – and with it absolute truth – produces a huge degree of uncertainty
    • Some revel in this situation, allowing them to make many choices they couldn’t have made in modernity.
    • Yet others struggle with this relativity and crave truth and certainty
    • The move to NRMs could be seen as a response to this problem.
    • Others have highlighted that increasing fundamentalism (e.g. Islamic fundamentalism) could be seen as a response to postmodernism
    • As it offers absolute truth and avoids the psychological problems of choice, pluralism and relativity
    • Leading Bauman to argue that “fundamentalism is a thoroughly contemporary, postmodern phenomenon”
  • 9. A possible conclusion…
    • It is easy to assume that the rejection of metanarratives signalled by postmodernism will, by definition, lead to the rejection of religion.
    • However, this does not see them to be the case – we have seen a transformation of religion, and both Bauman and Giddens argue that religion has become more important in the late modern/postmodern world (all be it in an adapted form now).
    • As Giddens states,
    • “ spiritual concerns seem fairly widespread in late [post] modern societies…not only has religion failed to disappear; we see all around us the creation of new forms of religious sensibility and religious endeavour”