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Flashcards in Week 6 - Religion Deck (20):

How did Edward Tylor define religion?

A "Belief in spiritual beings". (Distinction between spiritual and physical)


How did Emile Durkheim define religion

A "Unified system of beliefs and practises relative to sacred things, that is to say things set apart or forbidden". (Distinction between sacred and profane)


How did Anthony Wallace define religion?

"A set of rituals rationalised by myth which mobilises supernatural powers". (Distinction between supernatural and natural)


How did Clifford Geertz define religion?

A system of symbols which (1)establishes powerful moods and motivations and (2) provides conceptions of general order that are clothed in an aura of factuality. (Dinstinction between imaginary and real)


What evolutionary progression did Edward Tylor propose?

Animism to Polytheism to Monotheism. He thought that Animism derived from primitive attempts to explain the differences between the living and dead: the living have souls, dead don't.


What is modernity?

The act of moving away from nature; Seperation.


What did Eduardo Viveiros De Castro claim?

Amerindians don't have a different culture from westerners, rather a different ontology, a different reality.


How has animism become a part of political issues in New Zealand?

The Maori people's Tipuna Awa (river ancestor) has been changed to Awa Tipuna (ancestors river). Changing it from an object containing a ancestors spirit to a property gained through heritage.


What is a clan totem?

Animals or plants that have a kinship relation with the clan members?


Explain aboriginal dreamtime in relation to totemism

Aboriginal dream time are narratives the describe the travels of totemic ancestors across the landscape. There are taboos in place against eating your own totem.


What was Emile Durkheim's argument about totemism and religion?

That totemism revealed the origins of religion. The totem is the unity of the group expressed expressed in symbolic form, hence all religion is the society worshipping itself.


What did Levi-Strauss' claim about the relationship between totemism and animism?

That they were different perspectives on the same phenomenon


What is the difference between priests and shamans?

Priests - associated with hierarchy, formally trained, paid, control calendars and seasonal rites.
Shamans - recognised as having individual talents, ability to enter trance States, ability to communicate with spirits, including those of animals, heal illness, often laminar people.


What are the differences between sorcery and witches?

Sorcerers harm and kill others through manipulating objects, where as witches use the malevolent power inside them.


What is Voodoo?

A folk religion, neither sorcery or witchcraft. Voodoo protests may engage in counter-sorcery rites.


What are four defining characteristics of myth?

They are about origins. They involve events outside ordinary reality. They encode fundamental values. They are believed to be true.


What is the difference between myths and folktales?

Myths are believed as true where as folktales are not


What are the two most influential approaches cultural anthropologists use to interpret myth?

Functionalism and Structuralism.


What did Bronislaw Malinowski's functionalism interpretation show?

That myths function as charters for social action. They justify social action and provide precedents and that in order to interpret myths we need to place them in their full social context.


What did Claude Levi-Strauss' structuralist interpretation show?

That myths can be structural transformations of social reality. The symbolic meaning is uncouncious