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For steves sociology class

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  1. 1. Religion Religion and Postmodernity
  2. 2. The Collapse of Metanarratives (1) <ul><li>Religious practice and affiliation have decreased </li></ul><ul><li>This is particularly notable in the case of the “big” religions such as Christianity in Britain </li></ul><ul><li>And could be seen as a symptom of the collapse of metanarratives such as religion </li></ul>
  3. 4. The Collapse of Metanarratives (2) <ul><li>HOWEVER at the same time, faith in other metanarratives has declined, particularly science </li></ul><ul><li>Consequently, people are turning to a mix of belief systems to explain the world. </li></ul><ul><li>So whilst major religions have declined, smaller religions have flourished </li></ul><ul><li>Heelas (1996) has shown that people are increasingly turning to “new age” movements </li></ul><ul><li>These are often seen as offering legitimate alternatives to science. </li></ul><ul><li>For instance, “alternative medicines” (e.g. acupuncture, herbal medicines, etc) . </li></ul>
  4. 6. Hybridity (1) <ul><li>Many NRM’s are syncretic </li></ul><ul><li>i.e they borrow from different religions </li></ul><ul><li>And are often an eclectic mix of different narratives – a characteristic of post modernity. </li></ul><ul><li>For instance, Scientology mixes psychoanalysis, science-fiction and spirituality. </li></ul><ul><li>This reflects the postmodern symptom of hybridity </li></ul>
  5. 7. Hybridity (2) <ul><li>There has also been an emergence of spiritual shoppers </li></ul><ul><li>People pick-and-mix their religious beliefs, dipping in and out of different beliefs </li></ul><ul><li>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 ) </li></ul>
  6. 8. A Response to Uncertainty <ul><li>The collapse of metanarratives – and with it absolute truth – produces a huge degree of uncertainty </li></ul><ul><li>Some revel in this situation, allowing them to make many choices they couldn’t have made in modernity. </li></ul><ul><li>Yet others struggle with this relativity and crave truth and certainty </li></ul><ul><li>The move to NRMs could be seen as a response to this problem. </li></ul><ul><li>Others have highlighted that increasing fundamentalism (e.g. Islamic fundamentalism) could be seen as a response to postmodernism </li></ul><ul><li>As it offers absolute truth and avoids the psychological problems of choice, pluralism and relativity </li></ul><ul><li>Leading Bauman to argue that “fundamentalism is a thoroughly contemporary, postmodern phenomenon” </li></ul>
  7. 9. A possible conclusion… <ul><li>It is easy to assume that the rejection of metanarratives signalled by postmodernism will, by definition, lead to the rejection of religion. </li></ul><ul><li>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). </li></ul><ul><li>As Giddens states, </li></ul><ul><li>“ 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” </li></ul>