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How is it that humans have dealt with the issue of belief in a
comparative sense across time?
 Anthropology of religion based on 2 main principles:
o Phenomenology: studying what happens in the world.
People’s experience. How people LIVE religion
o Methodological Agnosticism: not studying the
correctness of the religion.
 We want to aim for an account, which has depth and complex,
showing how people deal with religion on a daily basis.
 Belief for us is a sociological fact. What role does religion
play in broader social scheme?
 Is it science or is it nice?
 Ontology: the real status and matter of things in life. “the
nature of women” – we are not looking at that.
 The meaning and social significance of religious practice!
 Edmund Husserl – we should suspend “epoche” everything
and put it in parenthesis.
 How do religious truths become socially realized and
1. Social Evolutionism:
a. “survival of the fittest” (Herbert spencer): religion
originates in dreams. Lies in our subconscious. Ancestor
worship is what religion is all about. Ancestors and
b. Edward Burnett Tylor. Anima, aka soul. Animism –
polytheism – monotheism: (stages of religion).
c. James Fraser. Magic precedes religion. Science and
magic are the same thing. That’s rational for him. But
religion is based on the belief of spirits and therefore is
d. British Functionalism. Malenaosky Religion is like an
organism and a machine that has parts that function
together. It is not interested in the functions of origins.
Interested in the interrelations of different social
institutions. As a social whole. Played a psychological
role: alleviates anxiety in the face of life’s uncertainties.
e. French Functionalism. Emile Durkheim. How can you
prove that religion is psychological? Interested in: how
religion produces and reproduced society itself. Religion
is making symbolic statements about society itself. In
other words, religion is a projection of social values.
Concerns of a society that are then reflected into a set
of religious values. What is sacred and what is profane?

there is a soul. CARTESIAN DUALITY. o Why is this problematic? It is primitive. Oppositional to science.Class 3:    ANIMISM o In every tangible being. summer. Giving a soul to animate and inanimate objects. It’s irrational and unscientific. o Ex: elephants walk calmly. o Nayaka use Animism to acquire knowledge about the world. o Relational epistemology TOTEMISM o Ordinary things with spiritual connections o Is not just ritual or functional o It’s a way of life o Small scale and non-Western o Gold is for the flesh of the python . including natural phenomena (hurricanes. winter etc).