- How do relational ontologies(animism, Totenism, mana), polytheism, monotheism and
science differ in their relation to nature?
- Stories that work to guide how to deal with critical problems that humans face as well
as an explanation of things that are not understood.
- They are answers to the question that are not usually answered.
- Often they encode cultural values and instruct people on their place int the world and
how they should relate to it.
- Sometimes used to justify certain relationships(e.g gender norms and gender
- Origin myths describe how the world began, and often where people fit into this
scheme.These are a specific kind of myth.
- It is something that we all do in our society and culture.
- Formal (stylized, repetitive and stereotyped) behavior performed in specific places at
set times - not necessarily religious.
- A ritual must fit into four categories:
1. Must be repetitive social practice.
2. It must be set off from the routines of day to day life.
3. It must follow some sort of ritual schema, and
4. It must be encoded in myth, symbols and meaning. TYPESOFRITUAL
1. Ancestor Worship: rituals are carries out worship the past members of the family or
2. Life cycle ritual: transitioning people from one phase to another of their life. e.g
funerals or birth ceremonies
3. Seasonal rituals: happen at the same time int he yearly calendar. e.g christmas,
4. Pilgrimage: ritual form of traveling, usually the other place we are traveling to often is
5. Sacrifice: Key form of ritual, Happens when people give up something in order to
6. Inversion: specific ritual events, often festivals where normal cultural values are
probably revered, things that are prohibited or taboo are allowed to take place. e.g
halloween(celebrating the dark side like witches and ghosts), carnival(highlighting
- Customs associated with the transition from one place to another.
- Stages of rights of passage:
= Separation - leaving normal everyday life (profane).e.g graduation
ceremony (when initially you are taken away from your family to a room and then
you begin the ceremony).
= Liminality - temporary suspension and even reversal of ordinary social
distinctions, behaviors and expectations(sacred).e.g during graduation the
students have to wear the gown and the hat.
Communitas: intense community spirit, feeling of great solidarity equality, and
togetherness during collective liminality
= Incorporation - re-incorporation into a everyday life(pro mane), but in a new
status. e.g entering the graduation ceremony as students and then leaving as a
- A specific form of ritual in which supernatural techniques are used to accomplish
- Types of magic:
- Imitative magic: magicians produce desired effect by imitating it - imitate effect
of negative effect on image of victim (e.g. voodoo doll).
- Contagious magic: whatever is done to object believes to effect person who
once had contact with that object (hair, clothing etc.)
- Magic can be associated with mana, polytheism, monotheism, atheism or even
- It is most often practices where there is high level of uncertainty, anxiety and solace.
- Religion and magic can help reduce anxiety.
- Malinowski: people turn to magic as means of control when they face uncertainty and
- Trobriand islanders: used magic only in situations they could not control.(e.g magic in
deeper water where fishing is dangerous and harder and not in shallow waters where it
is much easier and safer)
- Mayan farmers in Belize pray and give offerings to gods of the hills and valleys before
hunt, fish or farm crops.
- In our own contemporary societies, magic persist as means of reducing psychological
anxiety in situations of uncertainty.
- E.g baseball magic- Players have routines and/or superstitions to help deal with
- Routines/ superstitions most often connected ti hitting and not defence.
- A good hitter will get a hit(30%) of time, but a good fielder will be successful (90%) of
the time. Religiouschange
- Religious change can take different forms.
- Missionization - conversion from one religion yo another (forced or voluntary).
- Often result in syncretic religions.
- Voluntary conversion and spread of religion - New age.
3. Independent invention:
- cults? really unique religious beliefs.
- Syncretic is the process by which elements of one religion are assimilated into another
religion resulting in a change in the fundamental beliefs if those religions.
- This change does not always result in a total fusion of the religions but bits and pieces