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Cultural Anthropology Final (12: religion)

an intense community spirit, a feeling of great solidarity, equality, and togetherness; collective liminality

Edward Burnett Tylor; earliest form of religion; belief in spiritual beings/ double soul; death is departure of the soul; anima is Latin for soul

Edward Burnett Tylor
Founder of anthropology of religion (1871/1958)
proposed that religion evolved in stages: animism being first. Animism: early humans thought the body had 2 entities: day soul and doublesoul

Melanesia: Mana is similar to luck; can acquire by chance or hard work
Polynesia:attached to chiefs and nobles; acquired by hierarchy.

sacred and forbidden by supernatural sanctions (Polynesian chiefs and nobles)

refers to supernatural techniques intended to accomplish specific aims; strongest in situations of chance and uncertainty

Bronislaw Malinowski
Magic: when people face conditions they can’t control, they turn to magic. Studied the Trobriand Islanders who used magic for sailing expeditions. Magic is used for control.

Formal, repetitive, stereotyped behavior; based on liturgical order. Performed in sacred places at set times. Rituals are social acts

Play vs. Ritual
Plays have audience. Rituals have participants. Actors portray something. Ritual performers are in earnest.

Derives from the latin religare “to tie” or “to bind”
effervescence: bubbling up of collective emotional intensity generated by worship

The Plains Indians
Rite of passage: boys go into woods/isolation/fast and take drugs until they see a vision which would become their “guardian spirit”. Then return to village as adult

The three phases of a rite of passage
Separation, liminality, incorporation

In between place. Between separation and incorporation (rite of passage).

Liminal people
exist apart from ordinary conditions and expectations, living in a time out of time; liminal groups: sects, brotherhood, cults

Ndembu of Zambia
Chief during liminal phase: his past and future positions were ignored and he was subjected to insults and humiliation

Totem groups believe they are descendants of their totem. Totemism uses nature as a model for society.
A form of cosmology

a system for imagining and understanding the universe.

Claude Levi Strauss
(French) Father of the school of structural anthropology

Hindu Cattle Taboo
People of India: their zebu cattle are protected by the Hindu doctrine of ahimsa, a principle that forbids killing of animals generally. Doing so, provides, fuel, fertilizer, farming, and affordibiltiy

September 1996; extreme social control in the name of religion in Afganistan. Led by Muslim clergy; When NA overthrew, men shaved their beards (a taliban symbol)

A levering mechanism: a custom, or social action that operates to reduce differences in wealth and thus to bring standouts in line with community norms- another form of social control

A part-time magico-religious practitioner. Shaman religions are most characteristic of foraging societies (Inuit and natives of Siberia)

Communal religions
based on community rituals, e.g. harvest ceremonies, passage rites; believe in different deities (polytheism) typical of farming communities

Olympian religions
Arose with state organization and marked social stratification, add full-time religious specialists; state religions with professional priesthoods; mount Olympus (polytheism)

manifestations of, or are under the control of a single eternal omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent supreme being

Olympian collection of supernatural beings

seek order based on traditional standards, beliefs, rules, and customs; describes antimodernist movements in various religions; strict fidelity to founding principles

Revitalization Movements
social movements that occur in times of change; religious leaders emerge and undertake to alter or revitalize a society

Role of prophet in Revitalization
inspires new thoughts in a time of social unrest

Handsome Lake religion
In 1800 among the Iroquois of New York State. Founder was Handsome Lake. Transfer from matrilineal to more permanent marriages and individual households. helped them adapt to and survive in a modified environment. “Sober Family Farmers”

Cultural mixes, including religious blends that emerge from acculturation- the exchange of cultural features when cultures come into continuous firsthand contact

Cargo Cults
revitalization movements;in Melanesia and Papua New Guinea weave Christian doctrine with aboriginal beliefs; a result of the big-man system and no distribution of wealth from the white man; magical leveling; responses to the expansion of the world capitalist economy

Cargo Cults in Melanesia
basis for common interests and thus paved the way for political parties and economic interest organizations; cults paved way for political actions which led to indigenous regained their autonomy

rejection of the modern in favor of what is perceived as an earlier, purer, and better way of life

New Age
Contemporary trends in North America; Rising secularism and new religions, some inspired by science and technology, some by spiritism

A cultural universal, consists of belief and behavior concerned with supernatural beings, powers, and forces. Encompasses feelings, meanings, and congregations

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