Week 10 notes
Week 10 notes ANTH 1002
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by firstname.lastname@example.org Notetaker on Friday March 20, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to ANTH 1002 at George Washington University taught by Sarah Wagner in Winter2015. Since its upload, it has received 137 views. For similar materials see Social Anthropology in anthropology, evolution, sphr at George Washington University.
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Date Created: 03/20/15
Week 10 Glossary cultural relativism sacred profane Drugs for Life 0 Joseph Dumit I from public health to surplus health maximizing neuroscience marketsquot Belief systems and knowledge practices Durkheim and religion 0 Introduction to Part IV of syllabus Durkheim and Douglas 0 Why study the religion of primitive cultures 0 The sacred and profane p 0 Definition of religion p44 Fundamentally then there are no religions that are false All are true after their own fashion all fulfill given conditions of human existence though in different waysquot italics added p2 Cultural relativism the position that the values and standards of cultures differ and deserve respect 0 But this position is not one of moral relativism o In trying to understand a culture fully anthropologists seek to understand its members beliefs and motivations o Contrasts to ethnocentrism which is the tendency to view one s own culture as the best and to judge the behavior and beliefs of culturally different people by one s own standards Durkheim argues that religion is the most powerful social fact that exists it allows a group of people to cohere p8 0 How to isolate examples without its complications simplification of the argument emulating the natural sciences in the tradition of the enlightenment 0 Looks for constant causes explain What are the two basic categories that religious phenomena fall into according to Durkheim p34 Religion has to have two things 0 Rites and Beliefs Beliefs sacredprofane always sacred is superior to profane has a special quality and profane is the everyday thought Rites are the actions I religious beliefs are those representations that express the nature of sacred things and the relation they have with other sacred things or with profane things I Finally rites are rules of conduct that prescribe how man must conduct himself with sacred thingsquot p38 The sacred thing is par excellence that which the profane must not and cannot touch with impunityquot p38 Sacred things are things protected and isolated by the prohibitions profane things are those things to which the prohibitions are applied and that must keep a distance from what is sacredquot p38 Example I o Immersion Piss Christ is the 1987 photograph by artist and photographer Andres Serrano It depicts a plastic cross submerged in the artist s urine I What s going on here with the sacred and the profane Breaking down the barrier between the sacred and profane and it is a act of transgression of the sacred re ecting on his Catholicism Putting sacred and profane without a mediation Why is it problematic o Profane implication that it is human waste Example 11 0 Tomb o the Unknowns Arlington National Cemetery I What makes it a sacred space There is a guard soldier is a symbol of the state State is demarcating the space as sacred and adopt quiet There is no Church of magicquot p42 0 What s the difference between religion and magic I Religion unites a group of people and magic he sees is a relation about the individual who is seeking out those services religion is social and built on communities I Magic individual utility religion builds on altruism I Religion works in the real moral definition of representations and ideas that are shared collective ideas magic is based on the material external characteristics I Purpose of elevating religion to deal with thoughts and behaviors collectively Durkheim s definitions of religion 0 A religion is a unified system of beliefs and practices to sacred things that is to say things set apart and forbiddenbeliefs and practices which unite into one single moral community called church all those who adhere to them p 44 Friday s lecture Dirt or matter out of place 0 Recap definition of religion 0 Dirt offends o Anomalous ambiguous events 5 ways of responding 4850 Mary Douglas 0 Purity and Danger was published in 1966 and established her career 0 Danger lies in transitional states simple because transition is neither one state nor the next it is indefinable The person who must pass form one to another is himself in danger and emanates danger to othersquot p119 What space or object do you take pains to keep free of dirt Why 0 Work desk profane space Favorite book is sacred object o Bed making bed and the need to rest What underlying system or order category are you safeguarding ON the impulse to cleantide order 0 in chasing dirt in papering decorating tidying we are not governed by anxiety to escape disease but are positively reordering our environment making it conform to an idea it is a creative movement an attempt to relate form to function to make unity of experience If this is so with our separating tidying and purifying we should interpret primitive purification and prophylaxis in the same lightquot p3 Dirt as a matter our of place 0 dirt offends against orderquot p2 I that said Douglas is not really concerned with dirt per se but with widespread if not universal cultural beliefs and practices relating to purity and contagion I so thinking about dirt pollution is really a way to think about how society are organized around notions of order disorder beingnonbeing form formlessness life to death p7 Douglas argues on p 44 that where there is dirt there is a systemquot yet she goes on to say on p45 that dirt is a residual category rejected form our normal scheme of classificationquot 0 How can we explain these two statements in relation to one another I It shares the same profane and one is defined by the other profane and mundane everyday support of one another 0 Cultures Douglas argues have provisions to deal with matter out of placequot that is ambiguous or ambivalent events p4850 I By interpreting and labeling the anomaly so categories can be restored eg monstrous birth likened to baby hippo I By physical controlling the anomaly eg nightcrowing cock I By avoiding thereby strengthening the patterns approved eg Leviticus crawling things I By attributing danger thereby putting it above dispute I By using the anomaly s symbols in ritual to enrich meaning and create unifying patterns 0 Tells us about the underlined notion of order and disorder
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