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Anthropology 2R03 February 6 (L14).docx

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Antonio Sorge

Anthropology 2R03 Wednesday, February-06-13 Mary Douglas - “The Abominations of Leviticus” - British social anthropologist - Purity and danger – Pollution theory Major theoretical contributions: • pollution theory • thought and social control (“grid-and-group” theory) • embodiment theory • social anthropology of modern, urban society • risk theory Rethinking of conventional anthropological positions on: • “sacred” and “secular” • “primitive” and “modern” • hierarchy and social order Pollution Theory - nature is continuous, culture is discontinuous - point of culture: create categories of perception - stems from a universal drive to categorize Douglas’ work based on the essentials of the social nature of perception: Nature is CONTINUOUS and Culture is DISCONTINUOUS Nature: Culture How do cultures deal with the empty spaces between the cultural categories? - They taboo them i.e. abnormalize them We have to learn the categories of the society we live in - learn how to categorize the world - How does this start?  differences between our self and the world - self postulate - I am separate from the world around me - learn to be freaked out by things that challenge the self postulate This primordial, pre-cultural, experience is wired to our emotions and our intellect… and becomes the trigger that unleashes our flood of resentment when anything that is whole has its boundaries violated… this constitutes the emotional root of pollution beliefs and fears
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