By Michael Argyle (Eds.)
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Extra resources for Advances in the Psychology of Religion
46). Yet social anthropologists, intent on defending the autonomy of their discipline, have in the main adopted a negative attitude towards the threat of psychological "reductionism". A social or cultural phenomenon, so the orthodoxy runs, should be explained by reference to other phenomena of the same social or collective standing. The point of view formulated by Needham is widespread: "it seems fairly certain that causal argument in terms of sentiments (or any other psychological factors) have not been of pragmatic value in sociological analysis" (1962, p.
The latter can be seen as the legacy of Jamesian pragmatism and the functionalist school in psychology, combined with the stand of an apologist. The differences in approach between religious psychology, the psychology of religion and the social psychology of religion can be best illustrated with a concrete example from questions about the correlation between religiosity and prejudice. The history of research on this question is well known (cf. Argyle and BeitHallahmi, 1975). There has been a great number of studies since 1945 showing that in the English-speaking world there is usually a positive correlation between conventional religiosity and holding various social prejudices, including racial prejudice.
They are the needs which, in the absence of alternative means of satisfaction (notice the role of this exogenous factor) are best satisfied by engaging in available religious activity. As an example, Spiro asks us to consider societies in which social organization and morality results in repressed hostility. These demand satisfaction or catharsis (notice the role of this endogenous, Freudian, assumption). Satisfaction is facilitated by malevolent superhuman beings, since Repressed hostility motives can be displaced a n d / o r projected in beliefs in, and rituals designed for protection against, these malevolent beings.
Advances in the Psychology of Religion by Michael Argyle (Eds.)