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Revitalization movement Anthony Wallace. Anthony Wallace defines religion as "belief and ritual concerned with supernatural beings, powers, and forces"

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Presentation on theme: "Revitalization movement Anthony Wallace. Anthony Wallace defines religion as "belief and ritual concerned with supernatural beings, powers, and forces""— Presentation transcript:

1 Revitalization movement Anthony Wallace

2 Anthony Wallace defines religion as "belief and ritual concerned with supernatural beings, powers, and forces" (1966,p. 5) and developed four categories from this. 1. Shamanic religions shamans are part-time religious intermediaries who may act as curers— mostly characterized by foragers. Modern day shamans, Mama Lola, Gurus (preachers) 2. Communal religions have shamans, community rituals, multiple nature gods, more characteristic of agricultural society than foragers E.G., Zuni, Hopi, Iroquois, Cherokee, Choctaw among others. 3. Olympian religions developed with states, with full-time religious specialists whose organization may mimic the states, have potent anthropomorphic gods who may exist as a pantheon (Vedic, Greco- Roman, Zorastrian among others) 4. Monotheistic religions have all the attributes of Olympian religions, except that the pantheon of gods is subsumed under a single eternal, omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent being.

3 Revitalization Movement: Outline Why do revitalization movements emerge under certain circumstances but not others? What are the stages of emergence of a new religion? What is the role of a prophet in a revitalization movement? Examples of modern revitalization movements

4 Revitalization movement in response to culture change Religious movements that act as mediums for social change are called revitalization movements. They connect the past and present and give a vision for the future. Types of Revitalization Movements – Cargo Cults ( South Pacific islands studied by Ken Burridge, New Heaven New Earth) – The Ghost Dance of 1890 studied by James Mooney ( as an example of revitalizing the community) New Religious Movements – The “Cult” Question Examples of New Religious Movements, Sai Baba etc – Branch Davidians (Students of the Seven Seals) UFO Religions – Heaven’s Gate The colonial-era Iroquois reformation led by Handsome Lake is an example of a revitalization movement. The seneca movement led by Handsome Lake ( Anthony Wallace in his book Death and rebirth of Seneca)

5 Background: Acculturation and religion When one group is forced or made to adapt to another culture due to technological, economic, and political factors (colonization) Example, Hindu practice in the Carribbean V.S. Naipaul ( colonized man as mimic man based on Carribbean exp) Syncretism ( examples: Vodou, Santaria) Revitalization movements

6 Syncretisms A syncretism is a cultural mix, including religious blends, that emerge when two or more cultural traditions come into contact. – Examples include Vodou, Santeria, and candomlé, Wicca, Peyote cult among Native Americans – The cargo cults of Melanesia and Papua New Guinea are syncretism of Christian doctrine with aboriginal beliefs. Syncretisms often emerge when traditional, non- Western societies came in to contact with industrialized societies. Syncretisms attempt to explain European domination and wealth and to achieve similar success magically by mimicking European behavior and symbols.

7 Cargo cult in South Pacific

8 Cargo cult lives in South Pacific John Frum Movement in Vanuatu. Every February they parade in old US army uniforms with wooden weapons. Anthropologist Ralph Reganvalu: the sect was a "cultural preservation movement" that was born during a time of upheaval with the importation of alien values, customs and material in to the belief system. pacific/ stm

9 Revitalization movements one culture is able to establish economic and political dominance and superimpose itself on another, resulting into diffusion, assimilation. A reaction either religious or secular known as a revitalization movement. Ex: Ghost dance movement) 8 It had to do with social change. Visions of a new way of life by individuals under extreme stress.

10 Factors: Revitalization movements arise from a number of perceived stressful and often traumatic situations. These situations include political and economic marginalization: – loss of effective political participation – economic deprivation and poverty – malnutrition – high levels of chronic or epidemic diseases

11 Stages: the development of a revitalization movement. – Steady state. – The period of increased individual stress. – This phase is characterized by an increase in illness, alcoholism and drug use, and crime. – Cultural distortion, that serve as a temporary adjustment to change. – Revitalization begins when an individual or a small group constructs a new, utopian image of society and establishes a model of this image to introduce change in the society.

12 Types of Revitalization Movements Nativistic movements develop in tribal societies in which the cultural gap between the dominant and subordinate cultures is vast. Revivalistic movements: attempt to revive what is often perceived as a past golden age in which ancient customs come to symbolize the noble features and le­gitimacy of the repressed culture. Millenarian movements are based on a vision of change through an apocalyptic transformation. messianic movements believe that a divine savior in human form will bring about the solution to the problems that exist within the society. Of course, these four types are not always clearly differentiated from one another, and elements of one may appear in another. We will examine examples of these types below.

13 Cargo Cults The term cargo cult comes from the word cargo, which in the pidgin English spoken in New Guinea and the islands of Melanesia means "trade goods." – The culture area of Melanesia includes New Guinea and the islands to the east, including the Trobriand Islands. These movements began along the coast in the late nineteenth century but reached their peak during and after World War II, when the U.S. military brought in large quantities of manufactured goods.

14 The Ghost Dance of 1890 The policies of the U.S. government toward Native Americans in the late 19th century were those of forced assimilation. Genocide and ethnocide destruction of traditional food resources, restriction of communities to small tracts of land and reservations, and forced education at boarding schools for children

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17 Prophets: Wovoka ( ) Early in 1889 a Paiute named Wovoka who lived in Nevada, had a vision. Wovoka received a "Great Revelation" on New Year's Day in – He moved into an altered state of consciousness for a period of time, awakening during an eclipse of the sun. – This was interpreted by some as death followed by rebirth. – The Indians would inherit this land, and the dead would return to the earth—hence the name the Ghost Dance.

18 Prophets Sai Baba David Koresh (Branch Davidians) Jerry Falwell (Evangelical fundamentalist Southern Baptist pastor, televangelist) Why are they called prophets?

19 New Religious Movements “religions which have been found, from the perspective of the dominant religious community, not just different but unacceptably different.” J. G. Melton, "The Changing Scene of New Religious Movements," Generally branched off from older. Examples: the protestant movement in 16 th Century, Mormons from 18 th – Bhakti movements, Guru Nanak (Sikhism) ISKON, Sai Baba among others

20 A New Age Since the 1960s, there has been a decline in formal organized religions. Separation between organized Religion and spirituality 1wYM&feature=related (Sikhism in USA) 1wYM&feature=related New Age religions have appropriated ideas, themes, symbols, and ways of life from the religious practices every where specially from Native Americans, Australian Aborigines, East Asian religions.

21 Secular Rituals: Walt Disney World A Pilgrimage to Walt Disney World Walt Disney World functions much like a sacred shrine which is a major pilgrimage destination – It has an inner, sacred center surrounded by an outer more secular domain. – Parking lot designations are distinguished with totem- like 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.

22 Modern Movement: Secular rituals Within the Magic Kingdom: Spending 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 experience 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.

23 Religion changes with Society It is difficult to distinguish between sacred and secular rituals as behavior can simultaneously have sacred and secular aspects. Economic situation in important with the rise of Hinu, Sikh, Christian fundamentalism Martin Marty: Fundamentalism examined Susan Harding: The book of Jerry Falwell

24 Some Online Resources The Religious Movements Homepage CESNUR: Center for the Study on New Religions CESNUR Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance


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