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Chapter 3

study guide chapter 3


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC250Y1
Professor
Joseph Bryant
Chapter
3

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-Redfield calls the “big tradition” – the “official beliefs as defined by
elites.
-The “small tradition” the more popular version of religion to which
everyday people adhere.
-This worldly and other-worldly religious orientations- does a religion
emphasize religious ethical activity in this lifetime or does it focus on
what happens to people after they die or after a major transformation
in the world such as the coming of a messiah. Relying solely on
religious texts to determine whether a tradition is this-worldly or
otherworldly may be misleading- however a text emphasizing rewards
in the next life for example- may serve to focus a believers attention
on how he or she lives in this one.Sometimes other worldly language
may refer to both an afterlife and to hope within this world,
sometimes in disguised rhetoric as in most African American
spirituals.
-Many ninteenth and early twentieth century scholars attempted to
make sense of the broad range of religious behaviour observed around
the world during the colonial period.Using the metaphor of physical
evolution.
-Sir James Frazer- argues that religion grew out of magic practices,
an argument now widely discredited for its ethnocentric implications
about a model of progressive development leading fromprimitive to
moreadvanced”. Frazers theory was similar to earlier contentions by
Auguste Comte that humans have progressed from a theological to a
metaphysical, and finally to a scientific stage, in which arbitrary
superstition gives way to rational scientific knowledge.(theological-
>metaphysical->scientific knowledge)
-Tylor- sometimes called the father of modern anthropology contended
that the earliest and most basic religious forms were animistic, giving
way first to fetishism, then a belief in demons, then polytheism, and
finally monotheism.(early and most basic religions were
animistic(giving way to) fetishism->a belief in demons-
>polytheism->monotheism)
-Marx and Engels- linked their theory of religious evolution to
dialectical materialism. Because religious evolution is an
epiphenomenon of economic processes, they said, as the modes of
production changed so did religion.
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