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Lecture 36 Gellner cont..docx

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McMaster University
Antonio Sorge

Anthropology 2R03: Religion, Magic and Witchcraft April 10 2013 Lecture 36: Gellner cont. Gellner Separation of Spheres - In fully industrial/modern society we are supposed to have a complete separation of spheres o Ex: We expect (normative) separation between politics and kinship – e.g. don’t expect sons and daughters of our political leaders to become political leaders o Economic and kinship – very little expectation that we will do the trade/occupation that our parents did  Hired on the basis of skills and abilities, not kinship - All of these spheres are held artificially apart o Why? Because they have always been integrated throughout history  Separation is a recent phenomenon - Slide 7 quote o “Suppose Gellner is right in describing the central feature of ‘modernity’, which is the separation of spheres or, put another way, the ‘restraint’ of each. The characteristic feature of most civilisations and societies is that over time one or other of the major institutions gains weight and dominates. ‘Kinship is King’ on the whole in hunter- gatherer and tribal societies, and all the rest is embedded. Religion or politics, or a mixture of the two dominates in peasantries, as in Hindu or Islamic civilisation. All these are instances where society ‘freezes’, to use Levi-Strauss’s metaphor, so that status comes to dominate, whether kinship status as in unilineal kinship systems, or religious status, as in caste societies, or political status as in communism. What is peculiar is a situation where nothing dominates” (Macfarlane 1996:215). o Kinship is king  Kinship is what integrates the entire society o What’s peculiar is a situation where nothing dominates  Market dominated socs (classic liberal) o Kinship regulates a small sphere (reproduction) in modern societies o Night-watchman state  State protects us from external threats and internal threats  The state in a modern soc exists to facilitate the mechanism of the open market - 3 stages o H-gs  Mechanical Solidarity  KINSHIP dominates  No surplus production, thus egalitarian  The ‘original affluent society’ (M. Sahlins)  Form of communism in which everyone is equal to everone else o Agra  Increasing differentiation  POLITICS and RELIGION dominate  Feudalism = social order dominated by “Specialists in Cognition and Coercion”  Malthusian  Violence is normative  Characterized in euro times as feudalism  Violence as normative  Kept in place by threat of violence (see documentary on feudalism) o Industria  Organic solidarity  Sep of spheres and ideally none dominates  Violence disruptive to the social order  Most violence displaced outward in the form of violence between nations rather than within nations o Threat of violence is not ever present or premeating the social order  Open predicament  Loneliness, find refuge in consumtion – electronic sedatives or chemical sedatives  Disenchantment (Weber) o H-g  agrarian  Transition occurred advent of agriculture (neolitich revolution)  Emergence of specialized coercers o Agrar  industrial  Conditions of the exit  How did we get modern? o Gellner has 15 possible conditions  3 in the quote  “Gellner’s first major attempt to explain the escape stresses three factors. [1] The ideological force of Protestantism was important for the reasons Weber gave -- the accumulative ethic. [2] An expanding
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