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Introduction To Cultural Anthropology Religion Essay

1. Sorcery vs. witchcraft; ? almost identical terms as both use the magic spells, mystical or paranormal means to harness occult forces to produce desired results. Ideally speaking, persons pursuing witchcraft do not aim at producing evil results. Somehow the term sorcery is used pejoratively to denote the use of supernatural powers to produce unnatural and negative course of events. [0 Source: http://www.witchcraft.com.au/witchcraft-and-sorcery.html]

sorcery -can be learnt and practiced by anyone, use of materilas to invoke supernatural powers to harm people.

witchcraft- is considered to result from inherent mystical powers and is practiced by invisible means. No use of materials rather harm through use of T supernatural means, but through emotions and thought alone. [0 Source: http://www.witchcraft.com.au/witchcraft-and-sorcery.html]

2. Animism, ? is the absence of any belief in god, rather, belief that people have souls or spirits in addition to physical, visible bodies [0 Source: http://quizlet.com/dictionary/animism/]

3. Polytheism,? is the belief of multiple deities also usually assembled into a pantheon of gods and goddesses, along with their own mythologies and rituals. Lead to rise in religious class which holds special powers for the devine legitimacy. Usually the religious follows through hereditary. [0 - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polytheism]

4. Monotheism; ? the belief in the existence of one god, one supreme. Religious power usually only under hands of religious class.

5. Magic; ? ? System of supernatural beliefs which leads to manipulation of the forces. Usually for specific purpose such as protection from illness, misfortune, natural evens, and cure and even prevent illness from occurring. Usually individually oriented, and practiced at irregular times- in times of need.

2. Short essays (one/two paragraphs): IN YOUR OWN WORDS, respond to any TWO of the following questions. Illustrate with examples. There is no need for citations. Please make sure to copy down the question in your paper in its entirety, bold it, and then follow it with your response. (10 points)

1. Define ritual and the sacred. What functions do formal rituals play in society? How about the sacred? Illustrate with examples.

2. Define Rites of Passage. What are their functions in society? Who are the main anthropologists who discuss it? What are the different stages of a rite of passage? Illustrate with an example. How do the stages of a Rite of Passage apply to your example?

A ritual event that marks a person s progress from one status to another, usually shows anthropologist what s important for a certain culture, usually in a ceremony form surrounded events such as puberty, coming of age, marriage, and deaths. Some examples of rites of passage for religion are baptism, confirmations, which are important to certain religions. This Idea of Rites of passage was introduced by Arnold van Gennep, as first introduced the idea of the transitional phase between childhood and full inclusion into a social group.

According to Gennep it has three phases, the Separation, transition and Re-incorporation phases. In the first state its the withdraw from current status as you prepare to more from one status to another, usually symbolized by detachment of a individual or group to symbolize the cutting away from your old self. The second state is the period between the old stage and new stage, also the most dangerous. You haven t entered the new stage but already left the old stage. The threshold. And the thirdstage is the re-incorporation where you are not defined as a new person through a new stage. You completed your duty and are ready to reeneter the world as a new person, which can be symbolized by a ring, belt, crown, or anything else.

An example of this idea if graduation, the seperation stage is when you are separated from your family and on stage. The inbetween stage is when you are actually standing up but have not yet gotten your diploma this is the threshold- your not a graduate yet but at the same time you are no longer a student. and the reincorporation is when you sit back down as a college graduate and go back with your family no longer on stage.

3. Discuss the difference between illegal alien and undocumented worker as discussed by Leo Chavez in Shadowed Lives.

When you normally think of someone who is an illegal alien and an undocumented worker its usually the same idea. according to Chavez in Shadowed lives these two are different concepts when it comes to immigrants. On page 15 Chavez defines the undocumented immigrants- when speaking of individuals who have crossed the border illegally, without the consent of the INS, and who reside in the United States. so in simple terms they are immigrants with out documents from the INS.

One the other hand the idea Illegal Alien is defines as the legality of undocumented immigrants presence in the United States. They are not legitimate members of the community. They are rather outsiders, but actually they are the same thing as an undocumented worker just with a negative connotation. And missed qualities due to the words alien- outsiders.

Both illegal aliens and undocumented workers do the same act just one is followed with negative connotation with the names illegal and a alien.

3. Long Essay (5 paragraphs/sections). Answer any ONE of the following. Remember to structure your response in a five paragraph/sections format (Introduction, three body paragraphs/sections, conclusion). Always start by defining your terms. Illustrate your response with examples, materials from readings, lectures, and class discussions. For question 1, you are expected to reference/cite at least three sources from your readings. For questions 2 and 3, you are expected to reference at least three examples. Remember to include a bibliography at the end of your essay. (25 points)

1. Define religion. How do anthropologists approach religion? What are some of the common cross-cultural features of religion? How do anthropologists classify religious forms? What are the main types found around the world? What are the main functions in society? Lastly, in your conclusion, discuss whether you think religion hinders or encourages social change. Illustrate with ethnographic evidence and materials from class discussion and readings.

Religion is a term that is used by anthropologists in order to define a system of symbols which acts to establish powerful and long lasting moods, formulating conceptions of a general order of existence and clothes with such an aura of factuality that the moods and motivation seem uniquely realistic (Geertz). In reality the definition of religion is one that is difficult to distinguish from social institutions since there are different rituals for each religion and some ideas can be religion for some but not for others. This is where boundaries usually get blurred and non-existent, therefore unable to have a definite religion. Anthropologists usually look at the idea of religion to view the hierarchy of a culture as well as to compare and contrast different cultures and their beliefs.

One of the common cross-cultural features of religious if the idea of the supernatural ideology. The supernatural is the idea that tends to be in every culture just in different ways. But usually related to two forms the non-human and the human origin. The Nonhuman origin is the Gods whom are named different personalities. The other form is spirits- these are unnamed supernatural beings of non-human origin who are beneath the gods in prestige and often closer to the people, these can be evil, helpful and even mischievous. The Human origin of supernatural beings is Ghosts whom were once human since they are the souls of the dead people. As well as ancestral spirits whom are the ghosts of dead relatives. The way that we interact with the supernatural seems to be different depending on the culture; this can be by prayer, physiological experience, simulations, feasts, as well as sacrifices of animals or other things.

The main parts of religion that anthropologists look at are cults which are forms of religions that have heir own set of beliefs, rituals, and goals (Ferraro) which vary from Individualistic, which have no religious specialists but rather each person has a personal calling/relationship with the spirit. Followed by the Shamanistic cults, which are part time religious specialists who have supernatural powers by either birth or training. This is where all contemporary societies have their own method of a shaman. The roles that one has is a healer, fortune telling in exchange for gifts, and possesses the power to control spirits, and prevent them from causing harm. Followed by Communal Cult- which as an elaborate set of beliefs, where groups of people conduct religious functions on behalf of community, Such as rites of passage or rites of solidarity (Gennep). The last cult that is followed by anthropologists is the Ecclesiastical cults, which are monotheistic, or polytheistic religions, with full time professional clergy, who is either elected of appointed. With these cults women are usually not associated with this class. Usually consisting of a hierarchy between the clergy and the lay people, where the clergy are the ritual managers who are active and the lay people whom are passive.

The main types of religions in the world have Christian fundamentalism, which have increased over the past decades, with the influence of public national and international policies. These usually restrict scientific and technological innovations. The second type is the Islamic fundamentalism and the religious nationalism where the movements to merge religions are in the hands of governmental institutions and leaders. As well as globalization by the western societies seen as a threat, which lead to safety of religion but rather brought in more restrictions.

In conclusion I think that religion actually encourages social change because we are always finding new ways of defining our world, we always have people that are fighting against religious beliefs, therefore the longer we have it the more of a threat it will be and the more things that religious talks about will be debunked. We are seeing religion as being an essential part of life but its always resulting a a change in society for the better or for the worse, with different people falling under different categories of Atheism, polytheistic and monotheistic, due to new findings. Therefore religious is actually encouraging change not stopping change from occurring. You always have people that actually believe once again or those that believe in more than one god, or those that completely lost hope in religious due to new studies.

--> C. Geertz, "Religion as a Cultural System," in Anthropological Approaches to the Study of Religion , ed. M. Banton (London: Tavistock, 1966): 1-46

--> Gennep, van Arnold, Rites of passage. 1960.

--> Ferraro, Chapter 12 Part 1, Supernatural Beliefs.

Powerpoint- Religion and Magic.

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