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Ch. 12 Cultrual Anthropology

by: Megan Angelo

Ch. 12 Cultrual Anthropology ANTH-18210-49

Megan Angelo

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Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
Jeanne M. Stumpf-Carome (P)
Class Notes
Intro to Cultrual Anthropology - Religion
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This 7 page Class Notes was uploaded by Megan Angelo on Monday April 11, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to ANTH-18210-49 at Kent State University taught by Jeanne M. Stumpf-Carome (P) in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 27 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Cultural Anthropology in Human Development at Kent State University.

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Date Created: 04/11/16
Chapter 12 Religion What is religion? Anthony Wallace: belief and ritual concerned with supernatural beings and powers and forces Emile Durkheim: religious effervescence Reese: bodies of people who gather together regularly for worship Victor Turner: communities: intense feelings of social solidarity Religion is a cultural universal Expressions of Religion: Spiritual Beings: Sir Edward Burnett Tylor - Religion evolved around/ through stages - Animism: spiritual beings - Polytheism: multiple gods - Monotheism: belief in a single, all- powerful deity - Tylor: religion declines as science offers better explanations for things Powers and Forces - Mana: sacred impersonal force existing in the universe - Melanesian mana- similar to good luck - Mana- power or influence- can be in anything invoked by charms o Particular purpose- stone- making yams grow bigger Cannibalism: certain districts - Mark of extremist vengeance - Absorb mana- man/ tribe - Religious practice- ceremonially Melanesian- similar to good luck - Magic and Magicians - Enchantments, spells, sacrifices, set-free the mana required - Results- wizard gets credit and money - Fail- stronger spirit opposed- wizard loses no credit Tapu- forbidding certain actions under penalty of curse, or putting things under protection of some spirit who will avenge any breach of the tapu- doubted or braved- the unbeliever or bravo breaks ”Tapu” – risks consequences – mark – or stake claim on something Kiribati (Micronesia) - An extended Kiribati- family sought aid from ancestral spirits at a sacred spot known as (te bangota)- This practice is still carried out today when the family is faced with unusual stress and seeks support from their ancestors Mana: sacred impersonal force existing in the universe Polynesian- Mana- attached to political offices- because high chiefs have so much mana their bodies and possessions were taboo sacred and forbidden; prohibition backed by supernatural sanctions – tapu is radically different Mana- tribe, chief, land - Chief owns mana in others- “extends” into the land and people - Chief’s – great mana- another person touches the chiefs shadow- only way to correct the error was death to the subject - Magic- became an important part of society- ward off vengeance or wrath of mana- specialists in magic- rituals to protect people Magic: supernatural techniques intended to accomplish specific aims - May be imitative (voodoo dolls) or contagious ( through contact) - Magic (exists) in cultures with diverse religious beliefs Uncertainty, Anxiety, Solace - Religion and magic don’t explain things and help people accomplish goals - They serve emotional and cognitive needs Bronislaw Malinowski: magic is used to establish control, but religion “is born out of …the real tragedies of human life” Rituals - Formal, stylized, repetitive, stereotyped behavior based on a liturgical order (sequences of words and actions) - Performed in special (sacred) places and at set times - Rituals convey information about participants and their cultures - Rituals are social acts Rites of Passage - Customs associated with transition from one stage of life to another - Contemporary rites of passage include confirmations, baptisms, bar and bat mitzvahs, initiations, weddings, and applying to social security and Medicare Liminality: in- between phases of passage rite Liminality: basic to rites of passage involves a temporary suspension and reversal of social distinctions - Such phenomena as humility, poverty, equality, obedience, and sexual abstinence, silence may be required from the sect or cult members Communitas: intense community spirit a feeling of great social solidarity, equality and togetherness, characteristic of people experiencing liminality together Totemism - Totem: animal, plant, or geographic features associated with specific social group to which that totem is sacred or symbolically important - Members of each totemic group believed themselves to be descendants of their totem - Uses nature as models for society Cosmology: system often religious, for imagining and understanding the universe - Totemic principles continue to demarcate groups Religion and Cultural Ecology Sacred Cattle in India Ahimsa: Hindu doctrine of nonviolence forbids killing animals - Western planners lament that Hindus are bound by culture and tradition and refuse to develop rationally - Assumptions are both ethnocentric and wrong - Cattle play an important adaptive role in Indian ecosystem Social Control - The power of religion affects actions - Leaders have used religion to promote and justify their views and politics o Persuasion o Witchcraft accusations o Often directed at socially marginal or anomalous individuals Witch hunts plan an important role in limiting social deviancy Leveling mechanism: custom that brings standouts back in line with community norms Many religions also maintain social control by stressing the fleeting nature of life Kinds of Religion - Religion is a cultural universal - But cultural differences show up systematically in religious beliefs and practices - All societies have religious figures - Shamans: part-time magic- religious practitioner Totemic ceremonies of Native Australians – temporarily brought together foragers - Productive economies can support full-time religious specialists Anthony Wallace: describes religions of such stratified societies as “ecclesiastical” (pertaining to an established church and its hierarchy of officials) In Monotheism, all super natural phenomena believed to be manifestations of or under control of a single eternal omnipresent, omnipotent and omnipresent being Protestant Values and Capitalism Max Weber linked spread of capitalism to values central to the Protestant faith: - Ascetic - Entrepreneurial - Future oriented - Capitalism required that traditional attitudes of Catholic peasants be replaced by values befitting an industrial economy World Religions World’s Largest Religions: - Christianity - Islam - Hinduism - Chinese Confucianism - Buddhism - More than one billion people claim no official religion Hinduism - Bath-cleanse bodies and spirits and giver offerings - Statue/ picture- god/ goddesses Confucianism: - Humanism- neither denies nor slights heaven - Ritual, educate, kind Taoism - Cultivation of health through the transformation of the body, mind, and spirit - Achieved- through rituals, ceremonies, meditations, chanting, community service and similar training Religion helps retain social order – religious leaders may seek to alter or revitalize their society Revitalization movements: social movements that occur in times of change o Colonial-era Iroquois reformation led by Handsome Lake Syncretisms: Cargo cults: postcolonial, acculturative religions movements in Melanesia - Religious response to expansion of the world capitalist economy Syncretisms: cultural, especially religious, mixes emerging from acculturation- voodoo, sateria and candomble Haiti: - Voodoo or vodou- serving the spirits - African based, Catholic influenced - Loosely organized: ritual variations - Rural vs. Urban practices - Chofe and possession - Groups- Yoruba, Fon, Kongo Africa - Concept: frangine - Roman Catholic Influence - French Catholic Salve holders Santeria “La Regla Lucumm” “One who spirit” Nigeria- Yoruba Syncretic religion of Caribbean- origin, Christia, African and Native American Cuba- World Priests/ Priestesses function as diviners- Trance states, animal sacrifices Candomble - African originated- West – Yoruba language, or Afro- Brazilian - Brazil- Salvador - Neighboring countries - Possession by orishas, animal sacrifice - Christian elements- Catholic saints- Islamic links - Native Americans- gods - Polytheistic- priests and priestesses Antimodernism: rejecting modern in favor of what is perceived as earlier, purer and better way of life Fundamentalism: advocating strict fidelity to a religious presumed founding principles o Asserts an identity separate from that of the larger religious group o Seeks to rescue religion from absorption into the modern New Age - No religion preference - 7%-16% 1990-2007 - Canada- 12%-7% - Sociological research suggests that levels of U.S. religiosity have not changed much in the past century U.S. - Official recognition of a religion entitles it to a modicum of respect - Exemption from taxation - Not all religions receive official recognition Secular Rituals - Formal, invariant, stereotyped, earnest, repetitive, behavior and rites of passage that take place in non- religious settings How Far would you go for your Faith? - Holy Ghost People - Pentecostal Christian - Prayer, tongues, healing, poisonous snakes


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