This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Outline And Discuss The Problems Which Anthropologists Confront When Trying To Devise A Universal Definition Of 'religion'

2139 words - 9 pages

Many respected anthropologists have attempted to create a universal definition of religion and ultimately failed. This seems to be so because there are simply so many different practises all over the world, each which have their own function and each with their own meanings. Erickson notes that Tylor;Defines religion simply as beliefs in supernatural beings. The question of what is supernatural immediately poses itself here, for does that not very just like every other form of knowledge - is it not a case that what is natural to us is supernatural to others? (Erickson: 197)This is an example of an ethnocentric problem, of which we are bound to face when tackling the subject of religion in ...view middle of the document...

As Hendry explains 'in the nineteenth century people were greatly concerned with the origins of religion and they looked to the so-called primitive societies for ideas about how religion might have developed' (Hendry: 119-20), he goes on to portray Tylor's theory as;Rooted in the idea of a self of dreams […] he saw primitive people attributing souls also to animals and even to inanimate objects. These ideas constituted a primitive religion known as animism, according to Tylor, and these souls [...] eventually developed into the gods and God of more highly developed religions (Hendry: 120)Because of the advancement in scientific knowledge and the 'evolutionary worldview' (Bengtson: 646), that the nineteenth century was experiencing, Tylor tried to find the origin of religion. Some described him as 'the leading authority on "primitive mentality"' that 'outlined and described a progressive development from the darkness of religion to the light of science.' (Bengtson: 646). The assertions made by Tylor, most notably his theory that primitive ideas of religion and gods have developed from dreams, are dismissed by Evans-Pritchard. He points out that 'dreams may have led to speculations about souls and ghosts, but there is no way of knowing.' (Hendry: 120), he also points out that 'psychological states vary from one to another' (Hendry: 120), meaning it may be very unlikely for a religion to emerge in this way as it would require collective, similar states of minds, for all involved to accept this formation of a religion. Similarly to Tylor, Durkheim tried to understand where religion originated and came up with the following solution regarding the Australian Aborigines and their cult;This religion brought together the worship of ancestors with the notion of a totem to represent them […] Durkheim argued that all the elements of more advanced religions were to be found in this system […] other religions were simply more complicated versions of the same idea. (Hendry: 121)Evans Pritchard dismisses this theory also as a '"just-so story", based on insufficient and atypical ethnographic evidence' (Hendry: 121). Tylor and Durkheim try to universalise the concept of religion by relating both primitive and more developed religions, yet they run into difficulties, as they are limited to viewing other societies from their ethnocentric viewpoint without substantial evidence, and they take on an impossible task by searching for the dubitable soul origin of religion.Despite his speculation on the origination of religion, Durkheim's 'insistence of the identification of social facts' (Hendry: 122) serves an interesting and relevant purpose. His functional approach to the explanation of religion can be outlined briefly as following;One set of sociological explanations of religion seeks to analyse religious rites for their capacity to promote social cohesion, to encourage a spirit of co-operation, and to support the social structure of a particular...

Other Papers Like Outline And Discuss The Problems Which Anthropologists Confront When Trying To Devise A Universal Definition Of 'religion'

When Traditional School Is Compared To Homeschooling, Which Prevails To Promote A Strong Sense Of Community

2671 words - 11 pages them to more profitable jobs, so they can in turn give back to community. So in conclusion the idea is that we believe that these kids will grow up to hold lucrative jobs to give back to a community which they were never a part of. When homeschool students graduate early and with better grades it becomes assumed that they must be more focused on their schooling and can think in terms of community and not themselves, however this is a bit of a jump

With the Help of Examples Drawn from the Surveillance Film, Outline the Ways in Which Surveillance Is Used to Deliver Crime Control and Social Welfare

714 words - 3 pages Cochrane, Commentator, The Open University, 2008a). The use of CCTV as a surveillance tool in The Open University (2008a) shows how criminal activity can be monitored and controlled when a man enters the White Rose Shopping Centre in Leeds, from which he is banned for previous deviant behaviour. CCTV is used by the security staff to visually track his movements through the centre. This information is passed onto other security staff and a police

The extent to which volcanic processes represent hazards depends on where and when they occur

908 words - 4 pages The extent to which volcanic processes represent hazards depends on where and when they occur A hazard can best be defined as a 'situation that poses a level of threat to life, health, property or the environment.' The overall impact of volcanoes as a natural hazard varies greatly depending on the time and place. Different plate margins known as constructive and destructive on volcanic eruptions and landforms have different effects for example

Discuss the Extent to Which Macbeth and Shylock Are Victims and Villains

2123 words - 9 pages Discuss the extent to which Macbeth and Shylock are victims and villains The protagonists of each play, Macbeth and Shylock, both fall victim and succumb to villainous natures, however a difference is apparent between the two in representing these traits. Macbeth more so displays villainous behaviours, whereas Shylock is subjected to ordeals which victimise him. That is not to say that Macbeth does not become victimised, and that Shylock does

Discuss The Extent To Which All Businesses And All Business Activity Is The Same

1119 words - 5 pages and manufacturing fits into secondary industry. Tertiary section is more of a service sections which concludes transport, banking, teaching, nursing and police. It all sums up what the company provides into these three industries.In the end, all business operations can be reduced to three words: people, product and profits. That is what a business is on the surface but when looking into any business one will see that no single decision is clear. There is a Chinese proverb which states, "To open a shop is easy, to keep it open is an art". Every business tries their best to keep that 'shop' open.Bibliography:Business Studies Book AS/A2 levels

Using the Case Study Provided at the End of the Module Identify and Explain the Client’s Issues and Devise a Course of Treatment for Him, Taking Into Account Any Ethical Issues

2225 words - 9 pages considerations that need to be accounted for and then seek to devise a relevant course of treatment for him. Mr X has stated that he has been employed as an estate agent in the same company for 18 years. He has not progressed in his work although he is fully capable as has been demonstrated by his success at covering for the manager when previously asked to. Despite this he is apprehensive to put himself forward as a candidate for the managerial

Discuss the Ways in Which the Theme of Redemption Is Explored in a Christmas Carol

940 words - 4 pages Discuss the ways in which the theme of redemption is explored in A Christmas Carol In ACC, Charles Dickens explores the theme of redemption countless times throughout the novella. Through the salvation and alteration of the main character Scrooge, redemption is discovered. Transformed from a cold, miserly protagonist who seemed to live only for himself as he aged, to becoming as ‘as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the

Critically Discuss and Reflect on the Principles of Professional Practice Which Demonstrate Effective Safeguarding to Support the Needs of Vulnerable Children Living with Domestic Violence

1799 words - 8 pages Critically discuss and reflect on the principles of professional practice which demonstrate effective safeguarding to support the needs of vulnerable children living with Domestic Violence Children who live with domestic violence are often referred to as the invisible victims (Osofsky,, J.D 1995); with most victims being unaware of the significant impact abuse has on children. The physical and emotional implications caused by domestic abuse

Outline Some Of The Ways In Which Cultural Deprivation May Lead To Educational Under Achievement For Working Class Pupils

290 words - 2 pages There are many ways in which cultural deprivation may lead to educational under-achievement in working-class pupils. The term ‘Culture’ refers to all the norms, values, beliefs, skills and knowledge that a society or group regards as important. This culture is transmitted to the next generation through socialisation. According to cultural deprivation theories, some working class parents fail to transmit the appropriate norms, values, attitudes

Seismic And Volcanic Events Are Major Pieces Of Evidence Towards Proving That Plate Tectonic Theory Is Valid. Discuss The Extent To Which You Agree With This View. (40)

981 words - 4 pages now a great deal of evidence to support the theory of plate tectonics. Seismic and volcanic events can provide lots of evidence to support the theory, although much of it requires tools which were not available when the theory was first developed such as accurate methods of mapping earthquakes. It is very difficult to explain this activity without the theory of plate tectonics however, so although it was not some of the pioneering evidence, the fact that it continues today almost certainly confirms the validity of the theory.

Seismic and Volcanic Events Are Major Pieces of Evidence Towards Proving That Plate Tectonic Theory Is Valid. Discuss the Extent to Which You Agree with This View. (40)

975 words - 4 pages that are used today did not exist making the theory much more difficult to support. Paleomagnetism is one of the strongest pieces of evidence for plate tectonic theory and was developed in the 1950s which managed to convince scientists of the validity of the theory. When new crust is formed certain minerals align themselves with the Earth’s magnetic field. Analysis of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge has shown that as you move outwards from the ridge

Related Essays

Discuss The Major Factors Which Must Be Considered When Assessing A Child

2395 words - 10 pages Discuss the major factors which must be considered when assessing a child Introduction Counselling involves the process of helping people through gathering of information about a counsellee. Through relationship building the counselling process is able to progress, and the counsellor elicits information from the client through use of special counselling techniques which range from listening, questioning techniques, reflecting, clarification

Discuss Ways In Which Dickinson Presents Death In 465 (‘I Heard A Fly Buzz – When I Died’)

590 words - 3 pages poem. The profuse interjections of the “fly” could be interpreted as a way of mocking religion and Christianity, and undermining the beliefs of others. The expectation of the “king” is replaced with the arrival of the fly, which is not only bathetic for the mourners and the readers, but the repeated “buzzing” of the “fly” almost creates a provocative and condescending tone as if to emphasise the non existence of God or any divine metaphysical

Outline And Assess Solutions To The Problems Of Crime

1876 words - 8 pages The main perspective that has a clear perspective on the reduction to crime and solutions is the realist. They both believe that crime is a real problem and is rising therefore both left and right realist have their own individual solutions to how crime rates can be reduced. Left realist are focused on the on policies to deal with crime and deviance, they aim to reduce inequalities and have a more equal distribution of income and wealth

The Problem Of Definition Of Religion

2861 words - 12 pages The Problem of Definition of Religion The study of religion is problematic. There are so many dimensions to religion (belief, practice, experience, knowledge and consequences) that it is impossible to provide a conclusive definition. Most sociologists do not believe in God. Functionalist views on Religion ------------------------------- The functionalist analysis of religion is concerned with the