Anthropology and Religion

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  • Edition: 2nd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2012-04-12
  • Publisher: Altamira Pr

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Drawing from ethnographic examples found throughout the world, this revised and updated text, hailed as the best general text on religion in anthropology available, offers an introduction to what anthropologists know or think about religion, how they have studied it, and how they interpret or explain it since the late 19th century. Winzeler's balanced consideration of classic topics, basic concepts, and new developments in the anthropological study of religion moves beyond cultural anthropology and ethnography to gather information from physical anthropology, prehistory, and archaeology. Written as a sophisticated but accessible treatment of the issues, Anthropology and Religion is a key text for upper-division courses.

Author Biography

Robert L. Winzeler is professor emeritus of anthropology at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. xi
Anthropology and Religion Words and Thingsp. 1
Words and Thingsp. 1
Is Religion a Human Universal?p. 3
The Meaning of Religionp. 4
The Anthropology of Religionp. 12
Types of Anthropological Studies of Religionp. 15
Types of Religionp. 16
Religions versus Religionp. 19
Religion Here and There: Western Notions in Comparative Perspectivep. 21
Religion Is Primarily a Matter of Belief or Faithp. 21
Religion and Identity: One at a Timep. 22
Religion Is a Separate Realm of Lifep. 24
Religion Is a Associated with a Special Buildingp. 25
Religion Concerns Transcendental Rather Than Practical Mattersp. 27
Religion Is the Basis of Moralityp. 31
Religion, Evolution, and Prehistoryp. 37
The Bio-evolution of Religionp. 38
When Did Religion Develop?p. 39
The Origin of Religion: How It Beganp. 46
The Nature of Early Religionp. 52
His Religion Evolved?p. 53
Religion, Adaptation, and the Environmentp. 57
Ecological Functionalismp. 58
Religion as a Regulator of Ecological Processesp. 60
Cultural Materialist Explanations of Seemingly Maladaptive Ritual Practices (or, Solving the Riddles of Culture)p. 61
Religion and Environmentalismp. 67
The Problem of Reaching Conclusions about Religion and Adaptationp. 76
Natural Symbolsp. 77
Are There Natural Symbols?p. 77
The Natural Environment as Symbolismp. 78
Animalsp. 80
Colorsp. 89
Lateral Symbolism: Left-and Right-Handednessp. 92
Percussion Soundsp. 94
The Head and Its Partsp. 95
Natural Symbols and Natural Religionp. 101
Myth and Ritual, Old and Newp. 103
What More Exactly Is Myth?p. 104
Theories, Approaches, and Explanations of Mythp. 106
The Protagonists of Mythp. 111
Myth and Genderp. 120
Contemporary Urban Mythsp. 121
Contemporary Rumor Mythsp. 122
Ritual and Beliefp. 129
The Nature of Ritualp. 130
Religious Ritualp. 131
Some Common Forms of Religious Ritualp. 132
Some Common Types of Ritualp. 134
The Structure of Ritual According to Arnold van Gennepp. 135
Journeys and Boundariesp. 135
Rites of Passagep. 138
Mortuary Ritualsp. 142
Bad Deathp. 144
Funerals as Rites of Passagep. 145
Witchcraft and Sorcery: Past and Present, Far and Nearp. 151
Traditional Witchcraft and Sorcery in Small-Scale Societiesp. 152
Witchcraft in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europep. 163
Modern Witchcraft or Neo-paganismp. 171
Spirit Possession, Spirit Mediumship, and Shamanismp. 177
Spirit Possession and Spirit Mediumshipp. 178
Shamanismp. 184
Shamanism in the Modern Worldp. 192
Religious Movements and the Origins of Religionsp. 197
Three Native American Movementsp. 198
Cargo Cults in Melanesiap. 207
A Religious Movement in Borneop. 212
Revitalization?p. 214
Anthropology and the World Religionsp. 217
The World Religions from an Anthropological Perspectivep. 218
Anthropological Studies of the World Religionsp. 231
The Conversion of Indigenous Peoples to and within the World Religionsp. 239
Anthropology and Religion on a Larger Canvas: Religious Change under Socialism and Capitalismp. 249
Religious Change in Socialist and Postsocialist Societiesp. 250
Socialism and Shamanism in Siberia and Mongoliap. 252
Religion under Socialism in Chinap. 256
Religion, Social Complexity, and Socialism in Cubap. 258
Vietnam and Laos as Socialist Statesp. 264
The Return of the Occultp. 271
Notesp. 281
Glossaryp. 287
References and Further Readingp. 293
Indexp. 309
About the Authorp. 325
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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