Beliefs Systems and Knowledge Practices: Durkheim and Religion
Beliefs Systems and Knowledge Practices: Durkheim and Religion ANTH 1002
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Estefania Notetaker on Saturday March 28, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to ANTH 1002 at George Washington University taught by Sarah Wagner in Spring2015. Since its upload, it has received 117 views. For similar materials see Introductions to Sociocultural Anthropology in anthropology, evolution, sphr at George Washington University.
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Date Created: 03/28/15
Beliefs Systems and Knowledge Practices Durkheim and Religion March 18 2015 1 Introductions to part IV of the Syllabus a How do we account for the unknown T i here are belief systems that account for gaps in our knowledge b Fundamentally then there are no religions that are false All are true after their own fashion all fulfilled given conditions of human existence thought in different waysquot Pg 2 i Durkheim is a positivist Yet here he is making a blanket bold statement ii He is interested in how do religions function What needs to religions fulfill What needs of human existence iii Pushing against human tradition of seeing other religious as false irrationalquot c Reminder i Cultural relativism the position that the values and standards of cultures differ and deserve respect ii But this position is not one of moral relativism iii In trying to understand a culture fully anthropologist seek to understand its member beliefs and motivations iv Contrast 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 v Essentially Not need to remove morality but to understand the internal logic of other culture 2 Why study the religion of primitive cultures a Durkheim and Mary Douglas 9 both turn to primitive culturequot to understands that social characteristics of religion Why i Durkheim is following the French positivist tradition He is using the scientific to understand the social Why doesn t he try to understand his own culture 1 Founding father of sociology wants to emulate the natural sciences a He wants to use primitive societies because he can take out some variables present in more complex societiesquot and focus on religion b Nitthose primitive societies have less complex religious systems Belief systems are complex but the overall societies are more straightforward 2 His theoretical actions help build an argument 3 To him religion is the ultimate social fact a He believes religion is the social glue that allows people to come together b He needs to study it in focus 4 Figure out how to isolate examples so he figures out the main variables a He wants to example the constant causes b Example with least variables and constant cause 5 Pg 8 the physicist seeks to simplijj the phenomenon Durkheim is applying concepts from the natural sciences to the social sciences 3 The Sacred and the Profane Pg 238 a What are two basic categories that religious phenomenon fall into according to Durkheim Pg 34 i Beliefs Thoughts 1 Religious beliefs are those representations that express the nature of sacred things and the relations they have with other sacred things or with profane thingsquot Pg 38 a Sacred Profane ii Sacred and Profane 1 The sacred thing is par excellence that which the profane must not and cannot touch with impunityquot Pg 38 2 Sacred things are things protected and isolated by prohibitions profane things are these things to which the prohibitions are applied and that must keep a distance from what is sacred Pg 38 3 Sacred and Profane and their opposition is essential to aw n a Sacred is elevated Profane is the everyday Scared is transcendent and special b Profane is defined against the sacred i These two cannot touch without some negative consequence iii What do you 9 These two can t touch but you can move closer How Via rites 1 Example Baptism a Getting closer to being a true believer by submersion iv Rites Actions 1 Finally ms are rules of conduct that prescribe how man must conduct himself with sacred things Pg 38 2 Example I I Immersion Piss Christ Andres Serrano w a It depicts a plastic cross submerged in the artist s urine b Putting an image of an icon that is sacred inside bodily waste You don t get more profane than that c The profane and sacred in contact without ritual 9 not okay as re ected by the controversy 3 Example 11 Tomb of the unknowns Arlington National My a Nation states is making and demarcating a space of sacred b The profane the everyday is not allowed c Women takes picture mocking the sign asking for respect and silence 9 gets fired from her job V What is religion and magic 1 There is no church ofmagic Pg 42 2 Religion a Unites a group of people 9 Social and built on communities b Built on altruism c Works in the real i Meaning the moral shared in the real of a moral world collective ideas 3 Magic a A relationship about the individual i The magician and the person seeking out services b Built on Individual utility c Works in the material i Not in the external but in the material 4 Definition of Religion Pg 44 a quotA religion is a unified systems of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things that is to say things set apart and forbidden beliefs and practices which unite one single moral community called a Church all those who adhere to them Pg 44 5 Glossary a Cultural Relativism b Sacred Profane
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