Dirt, or Matter Out Of Place
Dirt, or Matter Out Of Place ANTH 1002
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This 2 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 126 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
Dirt or Matter Out Of Place March 20 2015 1 Recap the definition of religion 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 sacredprofane and practices rituals which unite one single moral community called a Church all those who adhere to them Pg 44 i Different from Magic which is about the individual 1 Religion is a unifying force in a society 2 Moral community shared representation and collective way of understanding the world b Durkheim makes religion his primary vehicle for answering 9 how societies stick togetherquot i Mary Douglas resembles this discussion about sacred profane 11 Dirt offends a Mary Douglas 19212007 i Purity and Danger was published 1966 and established her career ii quotDanger lies in transitional states simply because transition is neither one state nor the next it is indefinable The person who must pass from one to another is himself in danger and emanates danger to others 119 1 Examples a Adolescence not an adult and not a child b Pregnancy essentially being one or two people b InClass Question What space or object do you take pains to keep free of dirt Why i What underlying system of order category are you safeguarding ii How we deal with things that threatened our society How do societies deal with dirt c On the impulse to cleantidy order 9 i In chasing dirt in paper decorating tidying we are not governed by anxiety to escape disease but are positively re ordering our environment making it conform to an idea It is a creative movement an attempt to release 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 light P 3 d Dirt as matter out of place 9 i quotDirt o ends against order P 2 ii That said Douglas is not really concerned with dirt per se but with widespread but not universal cultural beliefs and practices relating to purity and contagion iii So thinking about dirt is really a way to think about how societies are organized around notions of 9 1 orderdisorder 2 beingnonbeing 3 form formlessness 4 life to death e Dirt out of place tells you something 9 i Douglas argues 1 on P 44 that where there is dirt there is a system 2 Yet she goes on to say on P45 that dirt is a residual category rejected from our normal scheme of classifications ii How can we explain these two statements in relations to one another 9 5 ways of responding III AnomalousAmbiguous 5 ways of responding 4850 a Cultures Douglas argues have previsions to deal with quotmatter out of place that is ambiguous or ambivalent events i By interpreting and labeling the anomaly so categories can be restored eg monstrous birth likened to baby hippo ii By physical controlling the anomaly eg nightcrowing cock iii By avoiding thereby strengthening the patterns approved Leviticus crawling things iv By attributing danger thereby putting it above dispute v By using the anomaly s symbol in ritual to enrich meaning and create unifying b All of these are about ensuring cohesion 9 You deal with the dirty so that the danger doesn t transform the system as it stands
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