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Lecture 4

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University of Toronto St. George
Ben Wood

October 4, 2012 Reading Responses  First reading assignment is due in two weeks  2-3 pages double spaced, hardcopy Religion and Culture  Religion and culture are intertwined  Culture is found in material product (books, buildings)  Culture is what people do  Culture does not refer to any entity in itself  Culture is an ideal, it is in a documentary sense, and it is in a social sense  Culture as an ideal – high culture (Shakespeare), elite culture (Mozart), objects of high (religious) culture: Bible, Torah, Quran, Hindu and Buddhist texts  Documentary sense: considering ALL cultural phenomena  However, it ignores distinctions in (perceived) quality of cultural products  Not only Mozart is considered culture, but anything is considered cultural  Film, television, newspapers, sports, pornography are all considered popular culture  Popular culture has only been looked at recently Religion and Popular Culture  Three kinds of popular culture: 1. Popular as well liked by the masses 2. Popular as simply what people do 3. Popular as being in contrast to the dominant or elite culture Popular Religion  Popular religion VS orthodoxy  These two can co-exist or be at odds  Popular religions can evolve over time into dominant, orthodox forms of religion Culture as a “way of life” and Religion  Closer to the meaning of “society”  “What’s your culture?”  Closer to a group of people Video: exemplifies how Orthodox try to get back religion through the means of popular culture? Theories of Religion  What is a “theory of religion?”  A theory of religion is an answer to: 1. What is the origin of religion? 2. What is the function of religion? If it arises in mind or groups, what function is religion playing in that dynamic?  A theory of religion might try to answer when, where, why and how a specific religious movement (or even religion as a universal of humanity) arose Emile Durkheim  1858-1917  One of the fathers of modern sociology, as well as Marx and Weber  Western thought  Played a role in establishing sociology as an independent field of study  Jewish  Developed a theory that saw religion as a basis of society  According to him, the “first systems of representations” e.g. time, space, substance, personality, etc. are “born in religion of religion”, and are “collective representations or the product of collective t
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