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ANTH 203 Study Guide - Final Guide: Zande People, Polytheism, Invented Tradition

Course Code
ANTH 203
Naotaka Hayashi
Study Guide

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Religion beliefs deal with supernatural entities, and concern the idea of whether
they exist and how they look like
We tend to judge people from our religious and cultural point of view
Others may not consider what we consider as “supernatural” and they do not make
distinction between natural and supernatural
Religion: System of practices and beliefs involving the worship of supernatural
Religious beliefs: Magic, Witchcraft, Sorcery, Oracle
Reasons to rely on religious beliefs towards individuals:
1-(Psychological – more about magic)
-Helps people uncontrollable crises
-Reduces anxiety
-Provides comfort and con+dence
---Imitative-sympathetic magic: eg. Sticking a pin to a voodoo doll to cause him pain
---Contagious magic: Cursing people through their body parts – once belonged to
19th century evolutionary model of religion
Magic -> Religion -> Animism, Polytheism, Monotheism -> Science
Azande people had no concept of bad luck, rather they believed the cause was
witchcraft. Some oracles would answer with yes/no their questions about the
2-(Social – Political)
-In social control, provides notions of right and wrong behaviors, norms
-Con5icts resolution, provides moral permits for individuals behaviors
-Group support is achieved through religious ceremonies provides reassurance,
E.T Taylor: “belief in spiritual beings” animism; inanimate objects and nature have
Animatism; rather than spirits, they have supernatural powers, and it can be
transferred upon touching

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Deism: natural religion, believes a god of nature,
Characteristics of rituals: Requires action, speci+c procedures, and carry a symbolic
representation meaning shared by a community.
According to Durkheim, rituals are directed towards the sacred and creates unity in
According to Malinowski, rituals are actions to control the uncontrollable, and
relieves anxiety
Rites of passage: It is a form of ritual that marks the change from one life stage to
another and afterwards never to become the same again. Three stages are;
Separation (from his life), Liminality (Transition, but not yet the member),
Reintegration (With the new status, he is welcomed)
Religious specialists: Shaman (witch healer, part time, free, can improve his
powers), Priest (ritual leader, full time worker, occupy an o<ce, keeps the rituals
same way)
Religion: Monotheism, Polytheism and Animism
Religious Beliefs: Magic, Witchcraft and Sorcery
Myths: Narrative stories about supernatural beings, Malinowski explains that they
help to maintain society itself (functionalist’s pov) and express morality and core
beliefs. [Epics focus on heroics]
Totemism; A clan’s very +rst ancestor which is an animal or a plant
Invented tradition: Andean folklore music, changing native sounds to suit European
preferences. Kecak dance, which was created to suit Western tourists.
Relationship between nature and society
Primitive peoples’ culture is vanishing, the actions of studies are melting away.”
Alfred Louis; Superorganic culture: “Individuals have very little impact on culture,
but rather culture plays a determining role in human behavior.
Later in 1980s; culture is created by people, people are not only passive actors,
their lives are not always controlled by the culture, rather they create/change the
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