ANT 360 Lecture Notes - Lecture 9: Acculturation, Functional Analysis, Millenarianism

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21 Jan 2017
Chapter 9: Religion in a Changing World
1. Religion, adaption, and change
a. Functional analysis of religions ultimately focuses on their adaptive role in
specific cultures
b. Religions reinforce a society’s culture and worldview; they also help shape the
way in which societies react to broader cultural changes
c. In general religious practices tend to be very conservative; this conservatism is
derived from religion’s sacred nature; people practice and believe in their
culture’s religious practices partly because they don’t change
d. Despite religion’s natural resistance to change, other aspects of cultures can and
do change very quickly
e. Religions in order to remain functional and adaptive are then likely to change
themselves or may lose followers to other newer religions
2. Mechanisms of cultural change
a. Internal change within an isolated culture is likely to be fairly slow and constant;
when cultures come into contact with each other cultural changes are likely to be
both more rapid and more substantive in nature
b. Change in a culture can also be due to contact with others; the movement of
cultural traits from one society to another is called diffusion
c. Technological traits are more likely to diffuse quickly than social or ideological
3. Acculturation
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