Any given society is made up human beings. Sociology is a social science that deal with the study of how these human beings interacts amongst themselves, causes of their interaction, and the results of these human interactions. In sociology, human beings are defined as social beings. Social life revolves around several components that can be used to explain how a society operates and exists. The three major of these components are the social structures, social interaction, and the social institutions. Different societies have different cultures, norms, and beliefs. In order to understand how the societies differentiate, it is important to first understand the three components (social structures, social interaction, and the social institutions) of the diverse societies.
Social structure reflects the interests, norms, roles and organization of members of a society which enables them to continue with their day to day activities. The social interactions define the ways in which people of different ages, sexes, social classes, and with different beliefs stay together in a society. It entails issues such as conflict since differentiation in any society is the major reason behind any conflict. Social institutions are mechanisms a society comes up with so as to regulate the behaviour of individuals in that society. Social institution also act as social support structures that enable a human being live in a society. Family, for instance, is the basic social structure of any society. The father (or the guardian) is the head of the family and regulates the behaviour of the family members. Family members also get financial and moral support from their fellow family members. Religion is another major form of a social institution. This is because it makes people in a society have beliefs and values. This regulated their behaviours. Therefore, religion is a social institution as it helps different societies meet their basic needs.
The Dialogue Institute of the Southwest is a non-profit organization that was started in 2002. Its main agenda is to explain how people from different societies from all over the world co-exist peacefully. The institute gives an insight look into different religions so as to understand their beliefs and tries to form a common ground for the different religions. In my internship at The Dialogue Institute of the Southwest, I will do the research and try to find out how people of different religions live together in a different societies and will come up with measures that can be taken to enhance the peaceful co-existence between members of different religions.
During my period as an intern at the Dialog Institute of Southwest, there are several issues I will research on and try to figure out. First, I will research on the statistics of different cultures across different nations of the wold. The Dialog Institute of Southwest deal with statistical data of the distribution of religion in different regions of the globe. Some countries are Islamic, others Hindu, and others Christian. I will also try and figure out what was the origin of this distribution, whether migration, or people were influenced by their ancestors.
My second mission will be to figure out what are the differences in beliefs in these religions. I will try and figure out the contradicting beliefs which are the main reasons for conflicts. In addition, I will also do research on other sources of conflict and find out which religions are may be the source of conflict due to what it preaches to its people.
Finally, I will do research on what caused social cohesion in the religious integrated societies. In the modern societies, even with people from different religions, there is still a peaceful co-existence. This peaceful existence can be due to laws which govern how people are supposed to interact with others, or education where the majority number of people have been educated and know better ways of solving conflict.
In my research, there are several pieces of literature I will use to find information. They are:
Zafirovski, M. (2010). The enlightenment and its effects on modern society. Springer.
This 374 pages book was written by Milan Zafirovski. It was published in 2010. Zafirovski is a professor of Sociology at the University of North Texas. In this book, Zafirovski lays emphasis on the importance of empiricism and reason. He argues that a culture, religion, social and academic institutions have played a great role in changing the culture of the Western society. He states the importance of enlightenment thinking on the modern societies. Enlightenment has brought thing like equality, liberty, and social justice among the modern institutions. The author goes ahead and describes what he thinks the societies would be without enlightenment. Zafirovski’s work provides a historic overview of pre-enlightened societies, discusses the enlightened societies, and postulates how post-enlightened societies would look like.
In my research, this piece of literature will help me understand the importance of enlightenment to the modern societies. I will get to understand how people with different cultures and religion co-habit peacefully in the same society because they have been enlightened on the importance of peace even with their different backgrounds and beliefs. I will also get to understand how a non-enlightened society with people from different backgrounds and have different religious beliefs will interact with each other.
Edgell, P. (2006). Religion and family in a changing society. Princeton University Press.
Religion and Family in a Changing Society by Penny Edgel is a 210 pages book that talks about sociology of religion and sociology of marriage and family. The book explains that the introduction of religion in some regions of the United States changed the way of life of the people of the country and especially the family life of the people of that era. Edgel gives an insight look into the ways in which religious congregations have responded to alteration in family life and how different member of the family participate in the local religion. Some families hold to the old ways of their forefathers religion while others adopt to the changing trends. Some religions also give each and every individual freedom to choose on which spiritual life to take. However, others restrict it members and do not allow them to go against their religion whatsoever. These religions have great penalties for those who go against what their scriptures say they should do. Edgell also explains that men, women, and children are viewed differently and have different roles in their religion. Generally, however, men were believed to view congregation as social support structures. Women, on the other hand, were more indulged into the religious experience.
This book by Penny Edgel will help me understand the Christian religion more. This is because it is the one with the most number of believers on a global platform. I will get to understand the different roles of men, women, and children in the congregation. Understanding how Christianity operates will help me know how Christians are expected to interact with non-Christians.
Pollack, D., & Olson, D. V. (Eds.). (2012). The role of religion in modern societies. Routledge.
The role of religion in modern societies is a book with ideas of various sociological scholars. In this book scholars such as Antony Gill, Steve Bruce, and David Voas give an insight look and write their opinions about the roles of the various religions in the modern societies. The scholars also discuss important topics to my research such as the religious change with the change in modern societies. The book also talks about the non-religious individuals in the society. Secular people form a good portion of people in the society, and they are discussed as people in a single religion as they have their own beliefs and alter the society in a number of ways. They also interact with people form the other religions hence affect the interaction of people of different religions.
In my internship, this book will help me understand the emerging trends in religion in the modern society. I will get to comprehend how the new trends in religion dictates the interaction of people in the modern societies. The book will be helpful as it gives views from different scholars. I will, therefore, be able to see the different views and augments brought forth by different scholars concerning this topic.
Turner, B. S. (2011). Religion and modern society: Citizenship, secularisation and the state. Cambridge University Press.
This book by Brian Turner was published in 2011. In his book, Turner explains how religion is a core social aspect that the way of life of people in a society. The Islam religion categorically has been in the lime light in the recent years. People are looking closely into the ways of life of Islams. The rise of modern secular societies, Turner states, that is as a result of multi-faith and multicultural societies. When a society cannot define how all its inhabitants are expected to behave and what to believe, there is a group of individuals that will find no religion to believe in hence the development of the secularization. In addition to this, Turner also talks about religion rivalry, feminism, the rise of spirituality among the youth, and the communication revolt. Politicians are from different religions, and they sometimes divide along religious lines when arguing about some ideologies. Turner completed his book by stating that modernization of societies is eroding religions. This in turn leads to rise in new religions. However, these new religions are not strong enough to form social cohesion and repair.
This book elaborates on an important topic that are subject of discussion at the Dialogue Institute of the Southwest. First it gives an insight look into the Islamic religion and their beliefs. Second it discusses the erosion of the different religion as a result of multicultural societies. Religion rivalry is also discussed in depth in this book. This book will, therefore, be useful during my period as an intern at The Dialogue Institute of the Southwest.
Gräb, W., & Charbonnier, L. (Eds.). (2014). The Impact of Religion on Social Cohesion, Social Capital Formation and Social Development in Different Cultural Contexts (Vol. 4). LIT Verlag Münster.
This book by Wilhelm Gräb and Lars Charbonnier was published this year (2014). It consists of 176 pages and majorly talks about religion as its major subject or theme. The authors explain religion as the major source of social cohesion in the society. The purposes of religion and religious institutions are said to be: to bring social cohesion, to encourage social development in societies, and acts as a source of social capital formation. The books its information on empirical research done by different scholars who come from different religions.
During my internship at the Dialog Institute of Southwest, I will need this book to understand the different roles of religion there than just being the source of social cohesion. Understanding this roles will enable me know how these roles individuals with different religious beliefs coexist in a single society.
The above pieces of literature will help me understand how a society integrated with people of different cultures and religions co-exist peacefully.
Theoretical perspective and hypothesis derivation
I will use Social exchange theory to draw some of my explanations of the peaceful co-existence of people of different cultures and religious beliefs. Sociology states that social institutions are the major source of interaction in different societies. Religion is a social institution in the society. Social exchange theory explains the reason why people with from different cultures and with different religious beliefs choose to relate peacefully.
When people choose to relate with others, the want to maximize on the benefits of these relationship. Therefore for different people to relate they weigh the beneficial and cost factors and decide whether the relationship is worth or not. In the modern society, a peaceful co-existence has several benefits. First it allows people to work together for the economic benefit. For example, a business person from one religion must interact peacefully with individuals from all the other religions for his/her business to be successful. Peaceful interaction between people of different religious beliefs creates a suitable environment for people to continue with their daily activities. Lack of interaction might result to religious conflict which, in the modern society, is usually solved by war. War has adverse effects. Therefore, the enlightened people with different religious beliefs will choose to interact and relate peacefully rather than to polarise and for barriers since the beneficial factors of the pervious outweighs those of the latter.
Social exchange theory also explains that people with different cultures and religious beliefs will interact if they have some common ideologies. People with a similar mind set will most likely get along well. Most religions have the same preaching. Most of them will explain that a superior supernatural being is the source of their divinity. They also encourage their congregation to live in harmony and do good to one another. Most religions preach of consequences for every action on earth. That good deeds will be rewarded well in the world of the supernatural where people go after they die. They also state that wrong doings will be seriously punished. Religion, therefore, makes people have the same ideologies hence relate well towards one another.
During my internship at the Dialog Institute of Southwest, I will use both primary and secondary data to do my research. For the institute to understand how different religion co-exist in peace and harmony, it must have done deep research on each and every religion on the earth’s surface. It must have understood the overlapping ideologies of different religions and those that vary. The institute must have both quantitative and qualitative data that it has collected in its database. This will be my source of secondary data. As soon as I report for my internship, I will get in touch with the relevant authority so that I can access this data. This will be one of the first things for me to do so that I can understand the ideologies preached by the different religions and know how they interact. Since this information will be in soft copy, I will use modern means of data collection such as the use of hard disks and store information in my personal computer so that I can analyse it.
I will also use primary data to do my research. I will majorly make use of pre-written questionnaires to collect information from individuals of different religions. I will collect information both in the Dialog Institute and out of the institute. I will use the primary data to confirm arguments from the pieces of literature and those made from the pre-existing data.
My research as an intern at the Dialog Institute of Southwest will aim to prove that religion plays a great role in maintaining a peaceful co-existence in the modern society other than disintegrating it as other individuals might argue.
The Dialog Institute of Southwest aims at promoting a peaceful co-existence between people of different religions. One of the major projects it has done to promote this is the Peace Garden. The Peace Garden is a beautiful garden where the worship buildings of all the religions have been erected. This region is supposed to promote interfaith dialog and communication hence promote interfaith peace.
- Sociology is the study of human beings
- Social life revolves around several components that can be used to explain how a society operates and exists
- The three major of these components are the social structures, social interaction, and the social institutions.
- Social structure reflects the interests, norms, roles and organization of members of a society which enables them to continue with their day to day activities.
- The social interactions define the ways in which people of different ages, sexes, social classes, and with different beliefs stay together in a society.
- Social institutions are mechanisms a society comes up with so as to regulate the behaviour of individuals in that society.
- During my stay at the Dialog Institute of Southwest will look into religion as a social institution that brings cohesion in the society.
- In my research, there are several pieces of literature I will use to find information. These book include:
- The enlightenment and its effects on modern society by Milan Zafirovski. He argues that a culture, religion, social and academic institutions have played a great role in changing the culture of the Western society and states the importance of enlightenment thinking on the modern societies. This piece of literature will help me understand the importance of enlightenment to the modern societies
- Religion and family in a changing society by Penny Edgel. This book talks about the changes in society that came with religion (Christian) in US. This book will make me understand the largest religion in the world. How they interact among themselves and with other religions.
- The role of religion in modern societies. This book is a collection of the works of several sociological scholars on religion in the society. It talks about the non-religious individuals in the society and how they interact with people of other religions.
- Religion and modern society by Brian Turner. This books talks about the Islamic religion. It will help me understand the second largest religion in the world.
- The Impact of Religion on Social Cohesion, Social Capital Formation and Social Development in Different Cultural Contexts by Wilhelm Gräb and Lars Charbonnier. . The authors explain religion as the major source of social cohesion in the society. As an intern at the Dialog Institute of Southwest, it will help me understand the role or religion in bringing social cohesion.
Theoretical perspective, hypothesis derivation and discussion
- Social exchange theory will be my theory of reference while carrying out my research at the Dialog Institute of Southwest.
- The theory states that people will relate with those that will benefit them, and those with similar ideologies like them.
- Religious preaching benefits the whole society and have same ideologies hence people with different religious beliefs will tend to relate.
- The Dialog Institute of Southwest, I will use both primary data, from the people, and secondary data, from the institute’s database.
- During my intern at The Dialog Institute of Southwest, I will do research and figure out how individual with different religious beliefs co-exist peacefully.
Edgell, P. (2006). Religion and family in a changing society. Princeton University Press.
Gräb, W., & Charbonnier, L. (Eds.). (2014). The Impact of Religion on Social Cohesion,
Social Capital Formation and Social Development in Different Cultural Contexts (Vol. 4). LIT Verlag Münster.
Pollack, D., & Olson, D. V. (Eds.). (2012). The role of religion in modern societies.
Turner, B. S. (2011). Religion and modern society: Citizenship, secularisation and the state.
Cambridge University Press.
Zafirovski, M. (2010). The enlightenment and its effects on modern society. Springer.