Human Cultures: Chapter 16 presentation


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Human Cultures: Chapter 16 presentation

  1. 1. CHAPTER 16 Religion
  2. 2. ANIMISM Is the belief that humans share the world with a population of extraordinary, mostly invisible beingsE. B. Tylor (1871) – ―Armchair Anthropologist‖ The first anthropologist to define religion Demonstrated that members of every society believe in the soul
  3. 3. A N I M I S M I S T H E S P I R I T UA L B E L I E F ORIGINATING FROM: The experience of dreaming in which a phantom version appears Sleep, fainting, madness, and death all lead to the notion of aworld of spirits who enter and leave human bodies at will Other universal experiences that the soul explains: • Trances, visions, shadows, reflections, and death
  4. 4. ALTHOUGH ANIMISTIC BELIEFS ARE UNIVERSAL, EACH CULTURE HAS ITS OWN CONCEPT OF THE SOUL: The Ancient Egyptians had 2 souls, and so  The J’varo of Ecuador have 3 souls: 1stdo man West African cultures: 1 from the soul – the mekas – gives life to the body, 2ndmother’s ancestors and 1 from the father’s soul – the arutam – has to be captured thru The Dahomey say women have 3 souls and drug-induced visions at a sacred waterfall, 3rdmen have 4: both sexes have an ancestor soul, a soul – the musiak – forms inside the head ofpersonal soul, and a mawn soul. The exclusively a dying warrior and tries to avenge his deathmale 4th soul guides men to positions of (it is to gain control over the musiak soul thatleadership in their households and lineages the J’varo cut off the fallen warrior’s head, The Fang of Gabon have 7 souls: a brain ―shrink it‖, bring it to the village, where it issoul, a heart soul, a name soul, a life force soul, a the focus of rituals designed to transfer itsbody soul, a shadow soul, and a ghost soul powers to its captors
  5. 5. ANIMATISM AND MANA Animatism: is the belief in diffuseimpersonal power that people cancontrol under certain conditions Mana: is the possession of aconcentrated animatistic force thatgives certain objects, animals, andpeople extraordinary powersindependent of the power derived fromsouls and gods Robert Marett (1914)
  6. 6. ROBERT MARETT Complained Tylor’s definition of religion was too narrow Introduced animatism to designate a supernatural force that doesnot derive its effect from souls Examples of objects that contain Mana: • An adze that makes intricate carvings • A fishhook that catches large fish • A club that kills many enemies • A horseshoe that brings good luck
  7. 7. N AT U R A L & S U P E R N AT U R A L  The Gururumba of the highlands of Most cultures do not western New Guinea, Phillip Newmandistinguish between the natural noted: • ―they have a series of beliefsand supernatural realm postulating the existence of entities and forces we would call supernatural‖ The question of whether a • Yet the contrast between natural and supernatural is not emically relevant to the Gururumba themselvesbelief is natural or supernatural • They believe in using ―lusu‖ to control some processes, a termmay have no emic meaning denoting rituals relating to growth, curing, or the stimulation of strength
  8. 8. MAGIC & RELIGION Sir James Frazer ―The Golden Bough‖ – defined religion For Frazer, the question of whether a belief was religious or not centered on the extent to which the participants felt they could make an entity or force do their bidding
  9. 9. Religion: refers to beliefs and If participants felt insecure and humbleand were inclined to supplicate and request actions that are based on thefavors and dispensations, their beliefs and assumption that the world is underactions were essentially religious the control of supernatural forces If they though they were in control of that humans must pleasethe entities and forces governing events, felt Magic: refers to a practiceno uncertainty about the outcome, and intended to manipulate supernaturalexperienced no need for humble forces to achieve a specific result.supplication, their beliefs and practices wereexamples of magic Magic is less spiritual and less ethical than religion
  10. 10. RELIGION & MAGIC ARE BOTH SYMBOLIC SYSTEMS THAT HELP PEOPLE COPE WITH E V E RY DAY L I F E Religion – emphasizes  Magic – is a means ofexplanation and is practiced manipulation that targetsregularly specific, immediate problems, provides psychological safety, allowing people to perform tasks without being distracted by fear
  11. 11. THE ORGANIZATION OF RELIGIOUS BELIEFS & PRACTICES  Anthony Wallace (1966) – distinguished 4 principal varieties of religious cults: (forms of organization of religious doctrines & activities) • Individualistic • Shamanistic • Communal • Ecclesiastical
  12. 12. INDIVIDUALISTIC CULTS Do not make distinctions between specialists and laypeople, ―do-it-yourself ‖ religion In individualistic cults, all people are their own specialist Common among Native North and South Americans, individuals acquire a personalguardian spirit or supernatural protector—typically by means of a visionary experienceinduced by fasting, self-inflicted torture, or hallucinogenic drugs • Inuit: hunters must be vigilant to deal with wandering human & animal souls, place spirits, Sedna (keeper of the sea animals), the Sun, the Moon, and the Spirit of the Air. Each hunter has his hunting song, a combination of chant, prayer, and magic formula that he inherits from his father or purchases from another hunter or shaman • Crow: Young men need hallucinatory experience to be successful in love, warfare, horsestealing, trading, and all other important endeavors. In keeping with their code of personal bravery and endurance, they seek these visions primarily through self-inflicted torture.
  13. 13. SHAMANISTIC CULTS Shamans: are women and men who are socially recognized as having specialabilities for entering into contact with spirit beings and for controlling supernaturalforces There are broad similarities in the techniques used by shamans to cure theirpatients: • Go into a trance by smoking tobacco, taking drugs, beating a drum, dancing monotonously, or simply by closing the eyes and concentrating • The trance begins with rigidity of the body, sweating, and heavy breathing • While in the trance, the shaman may act as a medium, transmitting messages from the ancestors • With the help of friendly spirits, shamans predict the future, locate lost objects, identify the cause of illness, battle with spirits on behalf of the patient, prescribe cures, and give advice on how clients can protect themselves against the evil intentions of enemies
  14. 14. S H A M A N I S T I C C U LT S, C O N T ’ D. !Kung: use a method of healing based  Tapirape: a village people of central Brazil,on the principle of n/um: healing energy shamans derive their powers from dreams inthat originates from the gods which they encounter spirits who become their • Accessed during an all-night dance • As dancing intensifies, the n/um of helpers the healers is activated in the healers • Dreams are caused by the soul leaving thru the kia (trance) – is said to boil the body and going on a journey fiercely within the healer • Frequent dreaming is a sign of • In the kia, healers express the wishes shamanistic talent of the living by entering into a struggle with the spirits to rescue the • Mature shamans, with the help of spirit souls of the sick familiars, can turn into birds or launch • To become a healer, a person must themselves though the air in gourd undergo intense training, by the time ―canoes‖, visit with ghosts and demons, they reach adulthood, about half the or travel to distant villages forward and men and 10% of women have backward in time become healers
  15. 15. COMMUNAL CULTS Use rituals to strengthen group continuity by communicating sociallyconstructed meaning signifying the continuity of the group Communal rites fall into 2 major categories: • 1. Rites of Solidarity: participation in dramatic public rituals enhances the sense of group identity, coordinates the actions of the individual members of the group, and prepares the group for immediate or future cooperative action • 2. Rites of Passage: celebrate the social movement of individuals into and out of groups or into or out of statuses of critical importance to the individual and to the community (examples: reproduction, the achievement of manhood or womanhood, marriage and death)
  16. 16. C O M M U N A L C U LT S, C O N T ’ D.  Rites of solidarity are common among clans Rituals: are formal, stylized, and and other descent grouprepetitive acts that are performed in  Such groups usually have names andspecial, sacred places at set times emblems that identify group members and set one group off from another Rites of Solidarity: are directed  Totems: are objects, such as animals andtoward the welfare of the community, plants, that serve as the emblems or symbols ofrather than the individual. They a kinship group or a person • Members of each group believe they werereaffirm the power of the group, which descendents of their totem • They refrain from harming or eating their totemtranscends individuals • The group sees their totem as their companion and protector
  17. 17. C O M M U N A L C U LT S, C O N T ’ D. Communal Rites of Passage: are ceremonies that mark changes in a person’ssocial position that are of general public concern Examples of this: birth, puberty, marriage, death Rites of passage are important public rituals that recognize a wider set ofaltered social relationships The 3 phases of Rites of passage are: • 1. Separation – separated from the routines associated with their earlier life and prepare to move from one place or status to another • 2. Transition – Liminal Phase: a temporary ritual state, during which the individual is cut off from normal social contacts to demarcate a contrast from regular social life • 3. Incorporation – sometimes passage rites are collective, collective liminality, called communitas, creates a community spirit and feeling of togetherness
  18. 18. ECCLESIASTICAL CULTS Ecclesiastical religion: is found in highly centralized political systems They have professional clergy or priesthood organized into bureaucracy This bureaucracy is usually associated with and under the control of a centraltemple At a secondary or provincial temple centers, the clergy may exercise aconsiderable amount of independence Ecclesiastical specialists are formally designated persons who are elected orappointed to devote themselves to conducting rituals at regular intervals • These rituals usually include a wide variety of techniques for reinforcing support for the supremacy of the ruling class
  19. 19. R E L I G I O N & P O L I T I C A L E C O N O M Y: HIGH GODS The level of political economy influences the way in which godsare thought to relate to each other and to human beings The belief that superordination and subordination characterizerelationships among the gods helps obtain the cooperation andsubmission of the commoner classes in stratified societies
  20. 20. R E V I TA L I Z AT I O N M OV E M E N T S The relationship of religion to structure  Most revitalization movements follow aand infrastructure can also be seen in the fairly uniform process:process known as revitalization • A society is in the state of equilibrium • A society is pushed out of equilibrium Revitalization movements: occur during by various forces, such as climatic ortimes of change, in which religious leaders biotic change, epidemic disease, war and conquestemerge to bring forth positive change • The society becomes disillusioned and disorganized Anthony Wallace defines it as ―deliberate • Social deterioration sets the stage for aand organized attempts by some members of revitalization movement to appear ina society to construct a more satisfying an effort to bring about a more satisfying societyculture through rapid acceptance of a pattern • An individual or group constructs aof multiple innovations‖ new, idealistic image of culture that forms the basis for social action
  21. 21. Native American RevitalizationWOVOKA  Provoked by European invasion and conquest and expulsion of the Native American peoples, and the destruction of their natural resources  The Piute prophet became the leader of the Ghost Dance: which they believed would place dancers in contact with the spirit world and hasten the time when people would be reunited with their dead ancestors. This meant that they would outnumber the Whites and hence be more powerful
  22. 22. RELIGION & SOCIETY Emile Durkheim believed the essence of religion is a moralsystem that enables individuals to function as coordinated units He saw the fundamental psychological aspect of religion as theelimination of the self and the denial of individuality for thepurpose of the social group, which is greater than the self Religion is a symbolic representation of society Religion emerges through the distinction between sacred andprofane • Sacred: is the realm of human experience that evokes an attitude of awe and reverence • Profane: is the realm of the secular, it is the world of everyday domestic duties that are essentially utilitarian • Sanctity: is the quality of unquestionable truthfulness credited by the faithful to unverifiable propositions
  23. 23. INCEST TABOO By surrounding incest prohibitions with the aura ofsacredness, the long-term individual and collectiveinterest comes to prevail, and the ambiguities anddoubts that the individual feels about renouncing theprohibited relationship are resolved more decisivelythan would otherwise be possible This does not mean that incest does not occur orthat all psychological doubts are removed but that suchdoubts are brought under effective social control
  24. 24. TA B O O S AG A I N S T E AT I N G P O R K A tension between short-run and long-run costs andbenefits may also explain the origin of certain food taboosthat are regarded as sacred obligations The ancient Israelite prohibition on the consumption ofpork: • Pigs require shade and moisture to regulate their body temperature  Hence, an animal that was • Unlike the domesticated ruminants, such as cattle, sheep, and goats, pigs don’t give milk once reared and consumed • Pigs can’t pull carts or plows, nor can they subsist on as a relatively inexpensive grass source of fat and protein • With the progressive deforestation and desertification could no longer be reared of the Middle East caused by the spread and intensification of agriculture and stock raising and by and consumed by large population growth, habitat zones suitable for pig numbers of people rearing became scarce
  25. 25. THE SACRED COW The case of the sacred cattle of India conforms to the generaltheory that the flesh of certain animals is made taboo when itbecomes very expensive as a result of ecological changes With the rise of the state and of dense rural and urbanpopulations, cattle could no longer be raised in sufficient numbersto be used both as a source of meat and as the principal source oftraction power for pulling plows The Hindu doctrine of ahimsa puts the full power of religionin support of the command not to kill cattle or eat beef, even intimes of extreme food scarcity