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Lecture 35 Weber & Gellner.docx

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McMaster University
Antonio Sorge

Anthropology 2R03: Religion, Magic and Witchcraft April 8 2013 Lecture 36: Weber & Gellner Weber concluded: Disenchantment related to Secularization - Dis arises out of a number of things o Atomized *  A social atom, isolated by one another  Clinging to idea of self-sufficiency and autonomy  No other time in history have people been so cut off from one another as they are now in industrialized society  Due to division of labour o Actions tend to be oriented toward pragmatic ends o Struggle to find meaning  Scientifically sophisticated society means people have lost a sense of the spiritual in general  So struggle to find meaning o Where do they find it? - Re-enchantment o “Re-enchantment industry” of Gellner  Directly associated with an atomized, secularized society  New age movements  Self-help programs (books and other publications)  Psychiatry and other counselling  Retail therapy  Leads to increased materialism and consumption o Concept of spending money for the purpose of self-actualization o Consumption and personal identity quote **  “Our enormously productive economy demands that we make consumption our way of life, that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfactions, our ego satisfactions, in consumption. The measure of social status, of social acceptance, of prestige, is now to be found in our consumption patterns. The very meaning and significance of our lives is today expressed in our consumption terms. The greater the pressure upon the individual to conform to safe and expected social standards, the more does he tend to express his aspirations and his individuality in terms of what he wears, drives, eats – his home, his car, his patterns of food serving, his hobbies.”  “These commodities and services must be offered to the consumer with a special urgency. We require not only ‘forced draft’ consumption, but expensive consumption as well. We need things consumed, burned up, worn out, replaced, and discarded at an ever increasing pace. We need to have people eat, drink, dress, ride, live, with ever more complicated, and, therefore, constantly more expensive consumption.”  Retail therapy essential – fills the void with stuff  Find satisfaction lies in material things more than ever before o Sica: pg 57 – “taken together this package… children’s amusement (e.g. video games)… aspects of Weber… answer the question… sedatives, both electronic and chemical”  Chemical:  Prozac, Viagra, Ritalin etc. a pill for every issue, many of which have been invented for the sake of fulfilling abstract norms  Electronic:  Video games etc.  Lack of serious cinema, of serious tv  Nothing thought provoking or intellectually stimulating  Social critique: we have fallen as a society overall o Why re-enchantment?  Selling re-enchantment makes money  A secular vision of the world does not provide for a ready made, easy at hand set of values by which to live  Weber: We live in a state of normlessness – (Anomie by Durkheim) – sense of isolation and alienation from one another o Uncertainty of the norms and rules to follow in life o Causes a lot of anxiety and suffering which lead people to turn to reenchantment via self-help or chemicals or electronics etc. - Animal Intimates (??) o Being cut off physically, most of our interactions are electronic  So the human contact we do not get in our day to day lives we can get from the
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