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ANT100Y - Gezon "Culture" Notes- Chpater 10.docx

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University of Toronto St. George

Chapter 10: Religion  Religion – belief and ritual concerned with supernatural being, powers, and forces (Anthony FC Wallace)  Religion assoc. with divisions within and between societies and nations  Can unite and divide  Religion exists in all human societies  Cultural universal  Characteristics: o Concerned w/ supernatural o Serves emotional needed o Collective system of meaning o Explains the unexplainable o Social in nature, based on religious roles  Animism: belief in soles or doubles  Mana – sacred impersonal force in Melanesian and Polynesian religions  polytheism: BELIEF IN MULTIPLE GODS  mono-theism: belief n a single all powerful deity  found of anthro of religion: Sir Edward Burnett Tylor  Magic – supernatural techniques intended to accomplish specific aims… techniques = spells, formulas, incantations used w/ deities or impersonal forces  Rituals: o Formal, stylized, repetitive, stereotypes o Performed @ special times/places o Liturgical orders – sequences of words/actions o They convey messages, values, and sentiments o They encourage a common social order  Magic/religion can reduce anxiety/allay fears(Malinowski)  Beliefs/rituals can create anxiety/sense of insecurity  Rites of passage: culturally defined activities assoc. with the transition from one place or stage of life to another o Boyhood  manhood o 3 phases:  separation - withdraw from group, begin moving from 1 phase to another  liminality – occupy ambiguous social positions, cut off form normal social contracts  incorporation – re-enter society b/c they completed the rite o passage rites often are collective, many individuals doing it at once, together o communitas: collective liminality – an intense community spirit, social solidarity, equality, togetherness o liminality marked by reversals of ordinary behaviour  Totemism: o Religions of Native Australians o Totems – animals plants geographical features o Members of each totem believe they are descendants of that totem o annual rites o uses nature as model for so
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