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Flashcards in Worldview and Religion Deck (22)
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1

Worldview

- “An encompassing picture of reality created by members of a society” (Schultz et al. 2015:240)
- Its goal is to bring order, regularity and predictability to daily life
- Difference between worldview and culture
- Can be secular or tied to religion

2

How worldview can shape relationship to weather

Place: Sumbawa Island, Indonesia
People: Dou Donggo and the Bimanese (Muslim)
Context: Drought when rainy season was expected to arrive
- Reactions of each ethnic group differed according to their worldview (Bimanese prayed to Allah; Dou Donggo tried to appease mischievous spirits - which came from placentas and were envious of not getting to be human - by doing rituals)

3

Metaphor

- Link formed between two expressions from different semantic domains
- Metaphorical subject (needs to be clarified)
- Metaphorical predicate (the familiar domain of experience that does the clarifying)
Metaphorical entailments (all the ideas that come from linking subject to predicate)

4

Metonymy

-Metonymy is word or expression used as a substitute for something with which it is closely associated
- They suggest that shepherd can stand for any or all attributes of shepherding
- Easy example is when “Washington” is used to refer to the U.S. government (or any aspect of it)
- Culturally defined, so meanings could vary (in some places, referring to Washington may imply no direct relation to the government or politics – could be meaningless)

5

Key metaphors

- A kind of symbolic representation that is widely understood within a culture and central to its world view
- Societal, organic or technological

6

Societal metaphor

- A metaphor whose model for the world is the social order, i.e., related to politics, the economy, the social structure
E.g., the biologist who compares the cell to a factory assembly line

7

Organic metaphor

- A metaphor whose model for the world is the living body
- E.g., Qollahuaya-Andean Indians who live in Bolivia and view the mountain Kaata as a living body (head – top, heart – centre, feet – base)

8

Technological metaphor

- A metaphor whose model for the world are objects made by human beings
- E.g., when we equate ourselves to computers or when we equate the body to a machine

9

Eating as a key metaphor

- Among the Kwakwaka’wakw of BC, the act of eating serves as a key metaphor
-Eating – provides nutrition but also frees souls
- Metaphor is present in art and myths – animals with jaws gaping, long beaks
- Hunger associated with greed – causing people to accumulate more than they need
- Hoarding food is akin to hoarding souls, so place emphasis on gift-giving and generousity
- Believe that greed, conflict and child rearing can be solved by controlling hunger – so food is carefully controlled and ritualized

10

Other kinds of dominant metaphors

- The predominance of war in talking about argument, the immune system
- Sports metaphors, like “slam dunk” or “home run”
- “Time is money,” “you’re wasting my time” (time as valuable commodity – something that can be counted, invested and spent)

11

Religion

- There are many definitions of religion, and it is difficult to find one that encompasses the diversity of beliefs and practices
-“Ideas and practices that postulate reality beyond that which is immediately available to the senses”

12

Anthropological interest in religion

- Interested in everyday practice of religion and how it connects to other aspects of social life
- Religion and other belief systems help people to cope with the problems of human life that are significant, persistent, and intolerable
- They accomplish this by providing a set of ideas about how and why the world is put together

13

Religious behaviour

- Prayer: customary way of addressing cosmic force
- Physiological exercise: Physically manipulating psychological states to induce ecstatic spiritual state
- Exhortation: people with closer spiritual relationships to help others
- Mana: An impersonal superhuman power that is sometimes believed to be transferrable
- Taboo: People or objects that may not be touched
- Feasts: Eating and drinking in a religious context
- Sacrifice: Giving something of value to the invisible forces

14

Religious organization

- Religious organization varies, but anthropologists have identified two broad categories of religious specialists:
- Shamans
healers, religious practitioners with individual powers to communicate with invisible forces
- Priests
also rabbis, or imams
people skilled in ritual and scripture, typically found in hierarchical societies

15

Shamans

- Believe in existence of world spirits, and are expected to cooperate and control good and bad spirits for benefit of community
- Use of trance, often with inducement by music, shaman’s spirit leaves the body and enters the supernatural world
- Shaman can treat disease and can help solve social problems
Examples: Healing among the Ju/’hoansi, and the Hmong

16

Magic

- Magic = beliefs and practices set to control the visible and invisible world for specific purposes
- Among the Azande (Evans-Pritchard 1937)
Oracles = the invisible forces that are asked to divine on matters of witchcraft
- Among professional baseball players (Gmelch 1971)
Rituals used by pitchers and hitters to try to exert control over performance and elements of chance

17

Revitalization

A conscious, deliberate, and organized attempt by some members of a society to create a more satisfying culture in a time of crisis. May lead to syncretism or nativism.

18

Syncretism

The synthesis of old religious practices (or an old way of life) with new religious practices (or a new way of life) introduced from outside, often by force
e.g. Haitian vodou

19

Nativism

- An attempt to return to traditional customs. E.g., Kwaio of Solomon Islands
- Revivalism, millenarianism, messianism = when the movement involves the appearance of a messiah or prophet to bring back a golden age
E.g., The Ghost Dance among the Lakota (Sioux) nation in South Dakota

20

Haitian vodou

- Reflects previous life (Africans brought as slaves) with current life (living a life of slavery or poverty)
- Combined elements of Catholicism and vodou to create a religion that looks like Catholicism on the outside, but is quite different

21

Change of globalization

Congregations moving across borders and communicating in different ways
E.g., Fuzhou spirit medium relocation

22

Secularism

The separation of religion and state, including a notion of secular citizenship (individual agency)