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In this programme Dr. Kenneth Thompson of the Open University and Dr. Ronald Fletcher discuss the process of secularisation and its importance for Sociology, and the Sociology of Religion in partic...ular. A number of short film examples are used to illustrate the discussion.
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Module code and title: D283, The sociological perspective
Item code: D283; 08
First transmission date: 17-06-1972
Published: 1972
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 00:23:49
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Producer: Ken Patton
Contributors: Kenneth Thompson; Ronald Fletcher
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Religion; Sociology
Footage description: Thompson introduces the programme with a number of film clips highlighting the question of secularisation. Shot of American schoolchildren pledging allegiance to the flag at the beginning of the school day. Profile of young girl at a Catholic Church, confessing. Part of a group therapy meeting which finishes with one member being applauded by the rest. Two short clips. One showing monks receiving communion, the other of a marijuana joint being communally smoked. Billy Graham at an evangelical meeting. The Rolling Stones at a concert. In all instances Thompson comments over the film shown. In the study, Thompson outlines the topics for discussion with Fletcher. The main point will be secularisation, the decline of religion. Authority has moved to the civil authorities because of man's changing society. It is tied up with a change to a scientific emphasis, rationality etc. This is true for all institutions and areas of life and gives rise to people's dilemmas. Thompson asks whether religion is declining or changing its function. Fletcher argues for a decline, that it is always possible to see those authorities which legitimate themselves as substitute religions. Fletcher argues for a qualitative change in society which has brought on a decline in religion. Religion itself is also changing in function and Fletcher sees a link here between this and blocks in the modern criteria of opportunity in society. Thompson moves the discussion onto the mystification aspect of religion and whether this is to be found in certain national institutions. Shots of the coronation of Elizabeth II at the moment of crowning. Shots of Billy Graham and other religious leaders blessing the inauguration of Nixon and Agnew. Fletcher is sceptical of this mystification aspect. He sees it in terms of a non-religious collective sentiment. He believes in a rational ground for collective sentiment. Thompson pursues the point of collective sentiment, as he can see some mystical aura involved, not its rationality. Fletcher reemphasises his argument. He turns to discuss personal moral issues, such as marriage, parenthood etc. Religious dogma and the attitudes it laid down are being undermined. Thompson asks about the non-cognitive side of religion; symbols, rituals etc. Fletcher queries the problem of maintaining ritual if rationally you disagree. The lack of doctrine can give rise to society's dilemma. What are needed are new social institutions which fit modern cognitive situations.
Master spool number: 6LT/70660
Production number: 6LT70660
Videofinder number: 150
Available to public: no