“The Mist” and Sociology of Religion: Film Clip Analysis


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This exercise involves the application of sociology of religion concepts (from the reading and a PowerPoint presentation) to selected clips from the film “The Mist.” The key concepts for this session include: religiosity, secularization, charismatic leader, structural-functional and social-conflict approaches to religion, organizations of religion, fundamentalism, and its distinct features. Taking the five main characteristics of fundamentalism (Macionis 2007), I lead students in an application of these definitions by analyzing clips from “The Mist” and discussing the relevant themes and their cognitive and emotional responses to the events shown. From this analysis, students should reflect on the value of defining religion and approaching it sociologically. Students should be able to define, comprehend, provide examples, and recognize in various contexts the concepts mentioned above. Furthermore, the five distinctive features are illustrated clearly in the film clips. These include: (1) sacred texts are taken literally, (2) personal experience of God’s presence is emphasized, (3) a rejection of religious pluralism, (4) opposition to secular humanism, and (5) an endorsement of conservative political goals.


Resource Type(s):
Class Activity, PowerPoint, Video 
Marci D. Cottingham, University of Akron 
Date Published:
Subject Area:
Introduction to Sociology/Social Problems 
Class Level:
College 100 
Class Size:

Usage Notes:

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Following a 10-15 minute PowerPoint presentation of the concepts, I distribute the handout that describes the concepts we are looking for in the clips and the specific questions that they should be able to answer following the showing. One important point is to note the sudden violence that is...

Learning Goals and Assessments:

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Goal 1:
Students can define fundamentalism, religiosity, secularization, charismatic leadership, and types of religious organization.
Assessment 1:
Students provide definitions orally in class and by selecting appropriate answers during the multiple-choice exam.
Goal 2:
Students can apply the above concepts to a film clip and answer each question on the class activity handout following the film clip viewing.
Assessment 2:
Application is assessed orally during class discussion and students receive class participation points for turning in their written responses to the handout questions.

Files for Download:

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1.3.11Instructor Usage Notes for The Mist.docx
1.3.11Soc of Religion Sample Assessment.doc