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Definitions and Concepts

Defining Religion; religious belief systems; magical and scientific belief systems; inclusive and exclusive definitions of religion.

Changing Nature of Religious Movements

Complete chapter taken from the published version of OCR Sociology for AS (2012) that covers:

• How we define religion and measure religious belief (religiosity).

• Different types of religious institution and movement (church, sect, denomination and cult).
• New Religious Movements
• New Age Movements
• Religious Fundamentalism.

The Role of Religion in Society

Complete chapter taken from the published version of OCR Sociology for AS (2012) that outlines and evaluates a range of perspectives on the role of religion:

• Functionalist
• Neo-Functionalist
• Marxist
• Neo-Marxist
• Weberian
• Neo-Weberian
• Postmodern

Religion and Social Position

Complete chapter taken from the published version of OCR Sociology for AS (2012) that examines the relationship between religion and social position in terms of four main variables: class, age, gender and ethnicity. The chapter also examines the appeal of new religious movements and new age movements to different social groups.

The Strength of Religion in Society

Complete chapter taken from the published version of OCR Sociology for AS (2012) that examines the secularisation debate in terms of four areas:

• Pro-secularisation

• Anti-secularisation

• Post-secularisation

• Beyond Secularisation

Religious Organisations

Types of religious organisation: Church Sect, Denomination and Cult.

Marxist Theories

An Introduction to Marx's ideas about religion and it's role in society; the concepts of Alienation and Ideology; Contemporary Marxism and religion (focusing on the work of Turner).

Functionalist Theories

Explaining religious beliefs; Parsons, Durkheim, Malinowski and Comte on religion; Introduction to secularisation.

Interactionist Theories

An Introduction to Interactionist perspectives on religion; nominal definitions of religion; universe of meaning; the persistence of religious ideas.

Religion and Social Position

Religion and social class; religion and age groups; religion and gender; religion and social stratification.


Operationalising secularisation; Indicators of secularisation (Religious practice, organisation and beliefs); Problems of definition and the reliability and validity of religious statistics.


For those who like a more comic-book feel to their studying: the Secularisation Debate in words and pictures.

Religion Chapter

This complete textbook chapter taken from A2 Sociology for AQA covers:
1. Different theories of religion.
2. The role of religion as a conservative force and as an initiator of change.

3. Cults, sects, denominations and churches and their relationship to religious activity.

4. Explanations for the relationship between religious beliefs, religious organisations and social groups.

5. Different definitions and explanations of the nature and extent of secularisation.

Religion and Social Change


Defining social change; An Introduction to the work of Classical Sociologists of religion: Durkheim, Marx and Weber.

Religion and Social Change


Overview of New Religious Movements; explaining NRM's; New Religious Movements and social change.

Religious Pluralism

An Introduction to religious pluralism; pluralism and secularisation; sub-cultural differentiation; the relationship between religion and mass communication; contemporary pluralist trends; religion in multi-cultural Britain.


Introductory | Deviance | Identity | Education | Family | Global | Media |

Health | Methods | Politics | Inequality | Theory | Religion | Welfare



Notes | PowerPoint | NotAFactsheet | Lesson Plans | Worksheets | Revision | Simulations | Flipbooks


Short films to buy or rent

Religion: What it is and what it does

New Religions: Alternative Spiritualities

The Decline of Religion?

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