I have chosen as a basis for the discussion in this paper two sociological theories relevant to the relations between religion and urbanization. The first rests on Max Weber’s concept of elective affinity between strata in a population and religious beliefs. I think the concept of elective affinity is broad enough to encompass Marxist theories of the ideological and utopian functions of religious beliefs. The second theory rests on Durkheim’s analysis of the social consequences of the division of labour, and similar formulations of this central theme in sociological thought.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Max Weber, The Sociology of Religion (The Religion of Non-Privileged Classes), Boston: Beacon-Press 1963Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    H. Gerth and C. Wright Mills, From Max Weber (Oxford University Press 1958) p. 280.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Edwin Smith, African Ideas of God (London: Edinburgh House Press 1950).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Roger Le Tourneau, Fez in the Age of the Marinides (University of Oklahoma Press 1961).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    John Taylor, Christians of the Copperbelt (London: SCM Press 1961).Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Philip Mayer, Townsmen or Tribesmen (Oxford University Press 1961).Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Mayer, op. cit., p. 3o.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    I have relied very largely on the analysis of the Ethiopian and Zionist Churches by Bengt G. M. Sundkler (Bantu Prophets in South Africa, Oxford University Press 1961). B. A. Pauw (in his study of Religion in a Tswana Chiefdom, Oxford University Press 196o, pp. 142–145) did not find as much concern with the interracial situation in the churches he studied in Taung. In many respects, his results are different from those of Sundkler, who was concerned largely with the independent Zulu churches.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    The Concept of Christianity in the African Independent Churches, Institute for Social Research, University of Natal 1958.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Sundkler, Bantu Prophets . ., op cit, pp. 85–93.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    E fraim Andersson, Messianic Popular Movements in the Lower Congo, Studia Ethnographica Upsaliensia, 1958.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Some crude confirmation of a selective religious factor in African urbanization may be derived, for South Africa, from the census for 1951, which showed the percentage of rural Africans returned as heathen to be over twice as high as that of urban Africans. In East London, the second generation of town-born Xhosa were mostly children of “School” Xhosa (B. A. Pauw, The Second Generation, Oxford University Press, 1963). Monica Wilson thought that the opportunity for higher wages was a factor in the different pattern of migration to Cape Town as compared with East London, largely “School” in the former, “Red” in the latter.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Cf. Arnold L. Epstein, Politics in an African Urban Community (Manchester University Press 1958).Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Michael Banton, West African City (Oxford University Press 1960).Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    See Sundkler, Bantu Prophets . ., op. cit., pp. 307–310.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Westdeutscher Verlag Köln und Opladen 1965

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leo Kuper

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations