A Reader in the Anthropology of Religion / Edition 2

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In the second edition of the highly acclaimed Reader in the Anthropology of Religion, Michael Lambek collects some of the most significant classic and contemporary writings on the subject, creating an unparalleled guide to the past, present, and future of the field.

Including nine additional selections, among them classic pieces by Pouillon, Burridge, and Meyerhoff, as well as more contemporary work by Harding, De Boeck, and Palmie, this volume examines numerous aspects of religion in a diversity of cultures, and expands upon the idea of what we mean by "religion," linking it to some of the broader questions of culture and politics. Lambek begins with a general introduction to familiarize the reader with the subject matter, and then prefaces each selection with helpful contextual remarks and suggestions for further reading. Additionally, the inclusion of research tools and an extensive bibliography lends unsurpassed accessibility to this text.

About the Author:
Michael Lambek is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Toronto and the London School of Economics

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Michael Lambek has succeeded in putting together an impressive collection of key texts and essays." (Culture and Religion, July 2009)

"The most comprehensive anthology on its subject, this is a splendid tool for teaching and a matchless scholarly resource." (International Review of Biblical Studies, 2008)

Praise for the first edition:

"[A] reader that ambitiously attempts to represent the full breadth, depth, and complexity of anthropology's investigations into religion. ... The masterly general introduction situates this anthology within the long and often difficult anthropological engagement with this most mystified and powerful realm of social action. ... [A]n excellent text." (International Social Science Review)

"A major guide to both the history of the anthropology of religion and new trends in research. ... Lambek has compiled an excellent anthology." (Journal of Empirical Theology)

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Michael Lambek is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Toronto and the London School of Economics and Political Science. He is author of The Weight of the Past: Living with History in Mahajanga, Madagascar (2002), Knowledge and Practice in Mayotte (1993), and Human Spirits (1981), and co-editor of Tense Past: Cultural Essays in Trauma and Memory (1996) and Illness and Irony: On the Ambiguity of Suffering in Culture (2004) (both with Paul Antze).

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Table of Contents

General Introduction 1
Pt. I The Context of Understanding and Debate 17
1 Religion in Primitive Culture 21
2 The Elementary Forms of Religious Life 34
3 The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism 50
4 Religion as a Cultural System 61
Skeptical Rejoinders 83
5 Remarks on Frazer's Golden Bough 85
6 Religion, Totemism and Symbolism 90
7 Christians as Believers 99
8 The Construction of Religion as an Anthropological Category 114
Pt. II Poiesis: The Composition of Religious Worlds 133
9 The Logic of Signs and Symbols 136
10 The Problem of Symbols 145
11 On Key Symbols 158
12 The Virgin of Guadalupe: A Mexican National Symbol 168
Structure, Function, and Interpretation 175
13 Myth in Primitive Psychology 176
14 Folk Dialectics of Nature and Culture 185
15 Land Animals, Pure and Impure 194
16 A Jivaro Version of Totem and Taboo 210
17 Text-Building, Epistemology, and Aesthetics in Javanese Shadow Theatre 221
Moral Inversions and Spaces of Disorder 243
18 The Winnebago Trickster Figure 244
19 Witchcraft and Sexual Relations: An Exploration in the Social and Semantic Implications of the Structure of Belief 258
20 The Politics and Poetics of Transgression 275
Conceptualizing the Cosmos 289
21 Closure and Multiplication: An Essay on Polynesian Cosmology and Ritual 290
22 Cosmological Deixis and Amerindian Perpectivism 306
Pt. III Praxis: Religious Action 327
The Movement of Ritual: Emergence 329
23 The Control of Experience: Symbolic Action 330
24 Form and Meaning of Magical Acts 340
25 Liminality and Communitas 358
Religion and Personal Experience 375
26 Fate in Relation to the Social Structure 376
27 Medusa's Hair: An Essay on Personal Symbols and Religious Experience 383
28 Spirits and Selves in Northern Sudan: The Cultural Therapeutics of Possession and Trance 398
29 The Poetics of Time in Mayan Divination 419
What Ritual Does: The Foundations of Order 431
30 The Disconnection between Power and Rank as a Process 432
31 Enactments of Meaning 446
Pt. IV Historical Dynamics: Power, Modernity, and Change 469
Capitalism, Colonialism, Christianity, and Conflict 471
32 The Genesis of Capitalism amongst a South American Peasantry: Devil's Labor and the Baptism of Money 472
33 The Colonization of Consciousness 493
Religious Ethics and Politics in the State and the Transnational Scene 511
34 Civil Religion in America 512
35 "Using the Past to Negate the Present": Ritual Ethics and State Rationality in Ancient China 523
36 Passional Preaching, Aural Sensibility, and the Islamic Revival in Cairo 536
37 Moral Landscapes: Ethical Discourses among Orthodox and Diaspora Jains 555
Pt. V Research Tools 571
A Guide to the Literature 573
Bibliography 585
Index 614
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