Sociology A2 - Globalisation EssayWatch this thread
Secularisation theory has argued that modernisation has undermined religion. The importance of science and technology on economic development and rational worldview on which they depend on are seen as destroying the belief in the supernatural. However, religion can contribute to development, but most recently, sociologists have examined what role religion may play in development in today's globalising world.
Nanda suggests that there is a rising urban middle class in India that still remain religious despite their economic development. Nanda found that Indians are becoming more religious and it is fashionable to be seen to do so. These new middle class Indians are attracted to once low-status village gods as they place more emphasis on the needs and welfare of the people. Their increased religiosity is a reaction to the uncertainty of their new found wealth. Religion still plays a huge part in their community as science and education are influenced by this.
In East Asia, the 'East Asian tiger economies' have successfully industrialised and are significant players in the global economy, therefore, the success of capitalism here has led some sociologists to argue that religion played a similar role to the role Calvinism played in 16th and 17th century Europe. Similarly, Berger argues that Pentecostalism in Latin America acts as a 'functional equivalent' to Weber's Protestant ethic.
However, Berger also underlines Weber's point that religious ideas alone are not enough to produce economic development, natural resources are also needed. This would explain the varied levels of religiosity between more economically developed and less economically developed countries.
Giddens argues that the growth of fundamentalism is a product and reaction to globalisation, which undermines traditional social norms concerning the nuclear family, gender and sexualtiy. Giddens argues the attraction of fundamentalism stems from their promise of truth and certainty in an uncertain world. This is similar to Bauman's argument that fundamentalism is a response to living in a postmodern world.
However, while fundamentalists detest modernity, they use modern methods to spread their beliefs, using the internet and e-mail for example.
Beckford criticises Giddens and Bauman on several grounds; they are fixated on fundamentalism, ignoring the affects of globalisation on non-fundamentalist religions, They distinguish too sharply between cosmopolitanism and fundamentalism, ignoring 'hybrid' movements and Giddens' description of fundamentalism being a defensive response to modernity is a modern, 'reflexative' action.
In conclusion, it is clear that religiosity differs in reaction to globalisation, however, there are other factors that need to be taken into account such as existing religiosity and economic state.
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