Presentation on theme: "This presentation discusses the role of religion in a variety of societies. It focuses on the types of religion and the situations in which religions."— Presentation transcript:
1This presentation discusses the role of religion in a variety of societies. It focuses on the types of religion and the situations in which religions can change rapidly. It concludes with a discussion of secular rituals and the way in which a trip to Walt Disney World might be studied as a secular ritual.Religion
2Introduction Religion (Wallace) belief and ritual concerned with supernatural beings, powers, and forces.So defined, religion is a cultural universal.Neanderthal mortuary remainsearliest evidence of what probably was religious activity.
3Animism Animism is seen as the most primitive form of religion defined as a belief in souls that derives from the first attempt to explain dreams and like phenomena.
4AnimatismAnimatism is the belief that all animate and inanimate objects are infused with a common life forcethe assignment to inanimate objects, forces, and plants of personalities and wills, but not souls.
5Mana and TabooMana is defined as belief in an imminent supernatural domain or life-force, potentially subject to human manipulation.Melanesian manaa sacred impersonal force that is much like the Western concept of luck.***Examples in your own life?Polynesian mana and the related concept of taboorelated to the more hierarchical nature of Polynesian society.
6Magic and ReligionMagic refers to supernatural techniques intended to accomplish specific aims.Magic may be imitative (as with voodoo dolls) or contagious (accomplished through contact).***Have you tried this?
7Anxiety, Control, Solace Magic is an instrument of control,Religion serves to provide stability when no control or understanding is possible.
8Rituals Rituals are formal, performed in sacred contexts. Rituals convey information about the culture of the participants and, hence, the participants themselves.Rituals are inherently socialparticipation in them necessarily implies social commitment.
9Rites of PassageRites of passage which mark and facilitate a person's movement from one state to anotherRites of passage have three phases:Separation – the participant(s) withdraws from the group and begins moving from one place to another.Liminality – the period between states, during which the participant(s) has left one place but has not yet entered the next.Incorporation – the participant(s) reenters society with a new status having completed the rite.
10Rites of PassageLiminality is part of every rite of passage and involves the temporary suspension and even reversal of everyday social distinctions.Communitas refers to collective liminality, characterized by enhanced feelings of social solidarity and minimized distinctions.
11TotemismRituals play an important role in creating and maintaining group solidarity.In totemic societies, each descent group has an animal, plant, or geographical feature from which they claim descent.Totems are the apical ancestor of clans.The members of a clan did not kill or eat their totem, except once a year when the members of the clan gathered for ceremonies dedicated to the totem.
12TotemismTotemism is a religion in which elements of nature act as sacred templates for society by means of symbolic association.Totemism uses nature as a model for society.Each descent group has a totem, which occupies a specific niche in nature.Social differences mirror the natural order of the environment.The unity of the human social order is enhanced by symbolic association with and imitation of the natural order.
14Religion and Cultural Ecology: Sacred Cattle in India Ahimsa is the Hindu doctrine of nonviolence that forbids the killing of animals.Western economic development experts often use this principle as an example of how religion can stand in the way of development.Hindus seem to irrationally ignore a valuable food source (beef).Hindus also raise scraggly and thin cows, unlike the bigger cattle of Europe and the U.S.
15Religion and Cultural Ecology: Sacred Cattle in India These views are ethnocentric and wrong as cattle play an important adaptive role in an Indian ecosystem that has evolved over thousands of yearsHindus use cattle for transportation, traction, and manure.Bigger cattle eat more, making them more expensive to keep.Another example: pig taboo in Middle East
16Social Control The power of religion affects action. Religion can be used to mobilize large segments of society through systems of real and perceived rewards and punishments.Witch hunts play an important role in limiting social deviancy in addition to functioning as leveling mechanisms to reduce differences in wealth and status between members of society.
17Social ControlMany religions have a formal code of ethics that prohibit certain behavior while promoting other kinds of behavior.***Examples in your society?Religions also maintain social control by stressing the fleeting nature of life.
18Religion and Social Control in Afghanistan The Taliban invoked a very strict interpretation of the Koran as the basis for social behavior.Women were required to wear veils, remain indoors, and were not allowed to be with males who are not blood relatives.Men were required to grow bushy beards and were barred from playing cards, flying kites, and keeping pigeons.
19Kinds of ReligionReligious forms vary from culture to culture, but there are correlations between political organization and religious type.Religious Practitioners and TypesWallace defined religion as consisting of all a society’s cult institutions (rituals and associated beliefs) and developed four categories from this.Shamanic religionsshamans are part-time religious intermediaries who may act as curers--these religions are most characteristic of foragers.
20Kinds of Religion (continued) Communal religionshave shamans, community rituals, multiple nature gods, and are more characteristic of food producers than foragers.Olympian religionsfirst appeared with states, have full-time religious specialists whose organization may mimic the states, and have potent anthropomorphic gods who may exist as a pantheon.Monotheistic religionshave all the attributes of Olympian religions, except that the pantheon of gods is subsumed under a single eternal, omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent being.
21Christian ValuesMax Weber linked the spread of capitalism to the values central to the Protestant faith: independent, entrepreneurial, hard working, future-oriented, and free thinking.The emphasis Catholics placed on immediate happiness and security, and the notion that salvation was attainable only when a priest mediated on one’s behalf, did not fit well with capitalism.
22World ReligionsIn the U.S. Protestants outnumber Catholics, but in Canada the reverse is true.Religious affiliation in North America varies with ethnic background, age, and geography.
23Revitalization Movements Religious movements that act as mediums for social change are called revitalization movements.The colonial-era Iroquois reformation led by Handsome Lake is an example of a revitalization movement.
24SyncretismsA syncretism is a cultural mix, including religious blends, that emerge when two or more cultural traditions come into contact.Examples include voodoo, santeria, and candomlé.The cargo cults of Melanesia and Papua New Guinea are syncretisms of Christian doctrine with aboriginal beliefs.Syncretisms often emerge when traditional, non-Western societies have regular contact with industrialized societies.Syncretisms attempt to explain European domination and wealth and to achieve similar success magically by mimicking European behavior and symbols.
25A New AgeSince the 1960s, there has been a decline in formal organized religions.New Age religions have appropriated ideas, themes, symbols, and ways of life from the religious practices of Native Americans, Australian Aborigines, and east Asian religions.
26A Pilgrimage to Walt Disney World Walt Disney World functions much like a sacred shrine that is a major pilgrimage destinationIt has an inner, sacred center surrounded by an outer more secular domain.Parking lot designations are distinguished with totemlike images of the Disney cast of characters.The monorail provides travelers with a brief liminal period as they cross between the outer, secular world into the inner, sacred center of the Magic Kingdom.Within the Magic KingdomSpending time in the Magic Kingdom reaffirms, maintains, and solidifies the world of Disney as all of the pilgrims share a common status as visitors while experiencing the same adventures.Most of the structures and attractions at the Magic Kingdom are designed to reaffirm and recall a traditional set of American values.
27Recognizing ReligionIt is difficult to distinguish between sacred and secular rituals as behavior can simultaneously have sacred and secular aspects.Americans try to maintain a strict division between the sacred and the profane, but many other societies do not.The future?Wade Davis on the Ethnosphere