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.
This textbook explores Southeast Asia's modern peoples and their cultural ways and patterns of adaptation. It introduces the region's geography, languages, prehistory, and history, then delves into religion, ethnic complexity, food production, development, and tourism, and the changes that these evolving aspects of life have upon Southeast Asia's peoples and cultures.
Present-day travelers visiting Borneo to see the marvelous buildings pictured in books are liable to wonder if they somehow ended up in the wrong place. Much of the architecture of Borneo and other areas of the humid tropics was never intended to last and, built as it is of wood and other organic materials, last it has not. Among Borneo's spectacular indigenous buildings, the longhouses, mortuary monuments, and other architectural forms of the interior are some of the most outstanding, and much of the renewed interest in indigenous architecture has focused on the rapidly vanishing or now extinct traditional forms of a small number of surviving examples or recreations. Drawing on the author's extensive research and travel in Borneo, this impressive and original study offers a more comprehensive account of this architecture than any previous work. Organized into two sections, the book first documents and explains traditional built forms in terms of tools and materials, the environmental context, village organization and social arrangements. This section includes a full discussion of architecture designs and symbolism, especially those dealing with life and death. The author next look
Devotional "occasions", or experiences by Irish Catholics form the crux of this powerful, first book-length anthropological study of Irish Catholicism. Questions central to the study of religion inform Occasions of Faith: What is religion and how do "official" and "popular" religion differ? What is the relation between power and meaning? What are the roles of religious and political "regimes" in the social construction of religion? In exploring these questions, the book draws on two major theoretical traditions in the anthropological study of religion: the tradition of Geertz, Douglas, and Turner and that of Marx, Foucault, and Asad. Even the powerful religious regime Taylor finds in Irish Catholicism must leave "creative space" for what he calls a "religious imagination." Basic fears and needs propel the people of southwest Donegal - and all of us, Taylor argues - to respond creatively to strong personal religious experiences and to invent forms to express them.
Remains of Ritual, Steven M. Friedson’s second book on musical experience in African ritual, focuses on the Brekete/Gorovodu religion of the Ewe people. Friedson presents a multifaceted understanding of religious practice through a historical and ethnographic study of one of the dominant ritual sites on the southern coast of Ghana: a medicine shrine whose origins lie in the northern region of the country. Each chapter of this fascinating book considers a different aspect of ritual life, demonstrating throughout that none of them can be conceived of separately from their musicality—in the Brekete world, music functions as ritual and ritual as music. Dance and possession, chanted calls to prayer, animal sacrifice, the sounds and movements of wake keeping, the play of the drums all come under Friedson’s careful scrutiny, as does his own position and experience within this ritual-dominated society.
They Lie, We Lie is an attempt by an experienced fieldworker to engage recent critiques in ethnography, that is the writing of culture, made both from within anthropology and from such disciplines as cultural studies and post-colonial theory. This is necessary because there has been a polarization within anthropology between those who react dismissively to what Marshall Sahlins calls 'afterology' and those who find the critiques so crippling as to make it hard to get on with anthropology at all. Metcalf bridges this divide by analyzing the contradictions of fieldwork in connection with a particular 'informant', a formidable old lady who tried for twenty years to control what he would and wou...
The compelling drama of American herbologist Rosita Arvigo's quest to preserve the knowledge of Don Elijio Panti, one of the last surviving and most respected traditional healers in the rainforest of Belize.
Ritual and Belief: Readings in the Anthropology of Religion is a collection of 41 readings in religion, magic, and witchcraft. The choice of readings is eclectic: no single anthropological approach or theoretical perspective dominates the text. Theoretical significance, scholarly eminence of the author, and inherent interest provide the principal criteria, and each reading complements its companion chapters, which are pedagogically coherent rather than ad hoc assemblages. Included among the theoretical perspectives are structural-functionalism, structuralism, Malinowskian functionalism, cultural materialism, and cultural evolutionism; also included are the synchronic and diachronic approaches. The book offers a mixture of classic readings and more recent contributions, and the 'world religions' are included along with examples from the religions of traditionally non-literate cultures. As diverse a range of religious traditions as possible has been embraced, from various ethnic groups, traditions, and places.