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a people's dualistically symbolic consciousness of a spiritual dimension to ordinary life primarily consisting of spirits and forces that they ritually interact with at specific places and times as a means of realizing their desires.

symbolic dualism

value judgements( half of the world is good and half is bad) ie. up and down, Heaven and Hell, right and left, light and dark


belief in spirits (Tylor)


belief in a power or force that we have to live in accordance with(Marett), example: chi in China

Frazer's timeline

1.) magic 2.) religion 3.) science

sympathetic magic

anything done to an image of you affects you, "like produces like", example: voodoo dolls

contagious magic

affecting someone through direct contact, example:taking something from a particular location, person, etc.

methods of contact

1.)prayer 2.)music and dance 3.)possession 4.)hallucinogens 5.)meditation 6.)sacrifice 7.)communal rites 8.)inspirational activities 9.)dreams and visions 10.)symbolic action

rites of passage

life cycle and calendrical rites

life cycle rites

birth, puberty, marriage, death

calendrical rites

synchronize actions with passage of time in nature(passage of the day, week, year; lunar, seasonal)

spontaneous rites

occur in immediate response to something, ie. a crisis(intensification, healing, assurance)

rites of intensification

occur in response to a trigger(accident, etc.)

healing rites

used to heal the sick and injured

rites of assurance

used to reassure people of the success of whatever activity they're engaging in(rituals, taboos, fetishes); one of the most important functions of religion

rites of unification

efforts of people to be one with the spiritual dimension


the repeating of an act that you think will result in a desired outcome

religion function

provides an explanation, gives meaning to peoples' lives, religious narratives(myths, stories)

religion function

source of consolation-suffering is inescapable in life-suffering=stress, death,illness,alienation, etc.

religion function

sensuous stimulation-religious occasions/festivites are the most celebrated times of the year

religion function

principle source of guidance=map, cmpass, blueprint(sets out acceptable bahaviors, taboos, etc.)

religion function

offers resolve-people are able to do things through religious inspiration that they otherwise wouldn't be able to do

religion function

social order/social solidarity- people are working towards the same goal, cooperation, etc.

religion function

people can change their way of life/alter their social dynamics- revitalization movements(end a condition of suffering and bring about a new and better way of life; most are cults though)

religion function

human rights- establishes how people are to be treated, example: golden rule

religion function

human adaptation- religion is a necessary component with respect to human success, example: religion is basis of daily activity-calendar, helps with synchronization of natural world which leads to economic success

harmonizing dualism

"light and dark" can be reconciled because it all forms a whole, Taoism

polarizing dualism

"light and dark" can't be reconciled because it's a black and white world, us

Tylor's timeline

1.)animism 2.)polytheism 3.)monotheism

Marett's timeline

1.)animatism 2.)polytheism 3.)monotheism

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