SOCB50H3 Study Guide - Demonic Possession

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26 Nov 2010

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Chapter 3 t Prescientific Approaches to Deviance
x Prescientific Period: before the great transition to rationalism and science (the Englightenment) in the
late 17th century
x Myths: the earliest sacred stories illustrated the character of deviance and warned ppl about the consequences of
excessive control / deviance
Myths, Parables, and Stores
x Before the Enlightenment brought science, rationality and a bound reality, ppl understood life in terms of
myths, folklore, parables, and stores t described experiences and explained them in a nonscientific way
x Ethical msg of every major religion is supported by collections of historical or mythical tales which various
kinds of offences agains powers of creations happen
x Deviants are expelled from the garden, turned into pillars of salt or condemned to perform external tasks
x Temptation and its consequences are central to many stories of this kind (Eve and the apple)
x Secular or magical stores also reinforce cultural images of deviance and control
o Little girl plays w/ matches, her dress catches fire and soon all that remains of her is a pile of ashes, 2 shoes
x DvÇ}ZZ]ov[}]µ]}vÇo~}ÇÁZ}]Á}o(Uo]o]]vPZ}}
x These stories conform to the common cultural practice of warning and admonishing to induce polite language, table
manners, cooperation, modesty, responsibility
Trickster Legends
x Most of our secular takes ambivalent about deviance t they do not regard it as unconditionally bad
x The deviant character is frequently more likable and sympathetic than characters who teach and correct
x This ambivalence is reflected in the cultural trickster t smart little guy outwits the stupid, boring authorities
x Everything the trickster does is permeated w/ laughter, irony, wit t and deviance, also a god that is not
above us all but rather immanent in life itself and the community
x Trickster takes many forms t usually masculine but gender-bending
o Brer rabbit, bugs bunny have their origins in African trickster figures Anasi and Legba
o dZ]]vÇ(]]}v}^o]Çv]]}v_ou}o]u]vZ]u]P}(µ}(Z}]P]voUµ
they convey the amusing, iconoclastic and likable side of the trickster
x The trickster also encompasses darker, uncontrolled, less human forces t uv[vuÇZ:}l
o They embody the paradox of deviance t its attractiveness and dangers and its many faces
x Some observers also find the trickster in legendary antihero stories, rock music (MJ), bad heroes of films, sports, arts
x The tricksters in a postmodern way are inspired to free their lives from self-imposed oppression
Contemporary Legends
x Contemporary Legends: differ from legends of the past, they claim to be factual rather than fantastic
x Legends are based on hearsay rather than fact (ie: horror stories reflecting urban fears)
x Urban legends deal with understandings of deviance and control t tell us certain ways of living (deviance, or lack of
control) are likely to lead to grief or humiliation and in the process they express our fears or desire for more order
x Earliest recorded attempts to explain rather than describe the nature of deviance did not, seek causes in
the empirical world
x Independent variables were supernatural forces (demons, devils who acted through particular human beings to cause
harm in the world)
x Ordinary folks looked to the supernatural - }Á]ZU}Y- as an explanation to floods, sickness Y
x Pantheistic religions each espoused a belief in gods and goddesses who had selfish, egotistical or violent
natures and a wide range of supernatural powers
x Such gods, although capable of goodness were also capable of malice in their treatment of human beings
x They could tempt them or put them into situations in which evil would result
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