Religions In Practice: An Approach to the Anthropology of Religion / Edition 2by John R. Bowen
Pub. Date: 08/28/2001
An overview of a variety of practices in religion across the world. Bowen (Washington U., Missouri) illustrates 15 thematically different chapters with selected examples from small-scale and large-scale world religions. Chapters in ritual, ideas about life and death, gender issues, magic and healing, witchcraft and sorcery, prohibitions, images and worship, cultural boundaries, sacred speech, pilgrimages, visions and prophets, and religion and the nation-state typically offer two to three examples explaining how some religions deal with these matters. This doesn't allow for grand theory-building, but may offer readers a view as to some of the different ways humans approach religion across the world.
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Table of Contents1. Studying Religion through Practice.
An Anthropological Approach to Studying Religion.
2. Ideas and Practices of "Religion," in Europe and Elsewhere.
Western Ideas of Religion.
Combining Religious Practices in Japan.
3. Rituals and Emotions.
Sequence and the Liminal Stage of Rituals.
Grief and Ritual.
Initiation, Secrecy, and Fear.
Theory in Anthropology: Emotions as Religion's Source.
Profile: Jonathan Spencer, and the Complexity of Grief in Sri Lanka.
4. Death, Life, and Debates.
Death Ritual and the Social Order.
Debates about Death; Debates about Life.
Theory in Anthropology: Miles Durkheim, and Society as Religion's Source.
Profile: John Bowen, and Studying Culture Through "Internal Debates."
5. Gender, Religion, and Ethnography.
Creating Gender through Ritual.
Reanalysis Through the Lens of Gender.
Articulating Women's Perspectives Through Spirits.
Religious Patriarchy and its Challenges.
Women and Islamic Dress.
Theory in Anthropology: Pierre Bourdieu, from Norms to Practices.
Profile: Susan Harding, and Studying Fundamentalism.
6. Extending our Powers: "Magic" and Healing.
Healing and Culture.
Trance, Possession, and Healing.
Modern Magic in Japanese New Religions.
Profile: Michael Brown, and Studying New Age Religions in the U.S.
7. Explaining Misfortune: Witchcraft and Sorcery.
Religion and Explanation.
Sorcery as a Focus on Practitioners.
Witchcraft and Moral Accounts of Misfortune.
Witchcraft as a Characteristic of the Individual.
Witchcraft as Satan versus God.
8. Prohibitions and Boundaries.
Taboos, Eating, and SocialInequality.
Taboos and Community in Judaism.
9. Objects, Images, and Worship.
Conveying Meaning through Symbols.
Masks in West Africa.
Images and Offerings in Hinduism.
Relics and Images in Catholicism.
Mary and Mary's in European Societies.
10. Crossing Cultural Boundaries.
Translating: Mary in the Americas.
Adapting: Islamic Sacrifice in New Cultures.
Profile: Jean Comaroff, and Fieldwork under Apartheid.
11. Sacred Speech and Divine Power.
The Qur'an as Recitation of God's Speech.
The Creative Power of Navajo Speech and Song.
Speech and Grace in Protestant Churches.
Profile: Gregory Starrett, on Urban Fieldwork in Egypt.
12. Transmitting Religion.
Improvisation and Variation.
New Age "Channeling."
Transmission and Religious Universals.
Mimesis and Performance.
Religion on the Web.
Profile: Pascal Boyer, on Supernatural Concepts and Experimental Methods.
13. Places and Pilgrims.
Centers and Directions.
Dimensions of Pilgrimage.
The Pilgrimage to Mecca.
Contrasts in Pilgrimage from Japan and India.
Profile: Ann Grodzins Gold, From "Sorrows of Simplicity" to "Shared Blessings" in Ghatiyali.
14. Saints, Visions, and Prophets.
Saints as Exemplars and as Source of Assistance.
Prophets and Social Change.
Revitalization Movements: Messiahs, Millennia, and Revivals.
Mormon Prophecy and Authority.
Muhammad and His Successors.
15. The Place of Religions in Modern Nation-States.
Religion and State Law.
Religious Minorities and Public Religions.
Minority Religions in Europe: Toleration or Public Recognition?
Religion, Nation, and State in the United States.
Religion and Public Life.
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