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- Gender is not the same as sex.
- Gender doesn't have anything to do with physiological differences between males and females.
- Gender is ongoing, organizing, and stratifying.
- "If gender differences were genetic, gender bending would only occur in hermaphrodites."
Did You Know That... (Religion)
- Islam has a major tradition of pacifism
- All societies in the world have religion
- Religion is not diminishing, it is quickly growing in the world.
- Religion is even growing in the U.S.
Why Study The World's Religions?
- Multicultural societies: global interaction, media, and immigrant societies.
- Ethical conflicts: geopolitical misunderstandings, interfaith dialogue for common goals.
- Appreciation for diversity
Size of Religions
- Christianity: 33%
- Islam: 21%
- Nonreligious: 16%
- Hinduism: 14%
One characteristic of the religion is essential.
None of the characteristics of the religion are essential.
Concept or practice which may appear to be natural and obvious to those who accept it, but in reality is an invention or artifact of a particular culture or society.
- All knowledge, including the most basic, taken-for-granted common sense knowledge of everyday reality, is derived from and maintained by social interactions.
- 3 processes: externalization, objectification, internalization
- The family is a social construction.
Weak View of Social Construction
Not everything is a social construction, but some/many things are.
Strong View of Social Construction
Everything is a social construction.
- "That which shows itself".
- To study the actual event as experienced by people
- Methodological neutrality: bracket out your own previous biases (Husserl)
- Dominant method in religious studies.
- Uncivilized man who symbolizes the innate goodness of one not exposed to the corrupting influences of civilization.
- Jean-Jacques Rousseau: believed that civilization, with its increased inequalities, represents the degeneration from an original harmonious collective social life.
- Education and reimposition of the social contract (collective will of people) were necessary in order to assume an orderly progress
- Sociologist of religion
- Described human beings as meaning makers.
- It is fundamental to all human societies to impose meaning on the environment, to order, classify, and regulate.
- Attempt to create worlds and webs of meaning.
- Belief that society is the product of interaction/communication between people and that this takes place through the use of symbols which have meaning for the individuals involved.
- Classifying everything all the time (often classifying different groups of people as less worthy).
- Social anthropologist
- "The Anthropology of Religion"
Has dealt with the ways in which the human body is used as a social and religious symbol.
Medical materialism- attempts to explain away purity rules by reference to scientific, medical, or hygienic principles.
Mystical participation- assumption that all rituals and regulations of “primitive” peoples are wholly irrational, and have only a magical or mystical significance.
Douglas’s approach is functional (seeking order in disorder).
- Matter out of place- when pathogenicity and
- hygiene are taken out of the picture, pollution is simply “matter out of place”.
- This implies two conditions: a set of ordered
- relations and a contravention of that order.
- Comes from anomalies
Right-handed vs. Left-handed
- Robert Hertz noted that a small biological asymmetry was grossly exaggerated by training.
- Left-handed children may be discouraged from using their left hand, may be punished, ridiculed, or have their hand bound.
- People eat and greet others with their right hand, while the left hand may be associated with defecation and symbolize uncleanliness.
Negative Reactions to Anomalies
- Anomaly can be redefined
- Elimination of anomaly through physical control
- Avoidance of anomalous
- Anomalous events or individuals may be labeled dangerous
- Anomalies can be elevated through ritual
- Make fun of it
- "Social Evolution"
- Religion comes from dreams and ancestral worship.
- Coined the term "survival of the fittest"
- Believed animism was the earliest form of religious belief.
- Monotheism and polytheism
- One of the founders of sociology
- Functional- collective representations form social structures.
- Distinctions between sacred and profane
- The collective life of society gives rise to both the profane world of everyday activities and the sacred world of ethical and moral values.
- Father of modern anthropology
- Took many of his ideas from structuralism- linguistic theory that focuses on the structures of societies, texts, languages, and cultural life. The interrelations of these are stressed.
Much of human behavior is generated by psychological adaptation that evolved to solve recurrent problems in human ancestral environments.
Sexy Son Hypothesis
- Female animals choose males whose genes will produce male offspring with the best chance of reproductive success.
- Benefits are irrelevant.
Evolutionary Psychology and Religion
- Natural selection should act against religious behavior unless it or something else causing religious behavior have significant advantages.
- Male clergy (celibacy), separation between genders, sexual orientation, weddings
Sumerian goddess of sexual love, fertility, and warfare.
Short-term mating (Men's Constraints)
- Problem of partner number
- Problem of identifying which women are sexually available
- Problem of identifying which women are fertile
- Problem of minimizing commitment and investment
Short-term mating (Women's Constraints)
- Immediate resource extraction
- Problem of evaluating short-term mates as prospective long-term mates
- Problem of gene quality
Long-term mating (Men's Constraints)
- Problem of identifying reproductively valuable women
- Problem of ensuring certainty of paternity
- Problem of identifying women with good parenting skills
- Problem of identifying women who are willing and able to commit to long-term relationship
- Problem of identifying women with good gene quality
Long-term mating (Women's Constraints)
- Problem of identifying men who have ability to invest resources in her and her children on long-term basis
- Problem of identifying men who are willing to invest resources in her and her children on long-term basis
- Problem of identifying men with good parenting skills
- Problem of identifying men who are willing and able to commit to a long-term relationship
- Problem of identifying men who can protect the woman and children from aggressive outsiders
- Problem of gene quality
Why is sex and spirituality so often connected?
- Humans experience reality fundamentally divided between our bodies and all external objects
- Sex is often a way to connect people with the world
- Since societies began, sex has been seen as too important to be left up to individual indiscretion
Evolution of marriage
- Not natural at first, but females became sexually receptive all month.
- Avoids conflict and rationing of females
Sexuality in hunter-gatherer communities
Members connected sexuality and abundance of game animals
Sexual ritual that plays out a marriage between a god and a goddess
Role of religion in virginity rituals
Most societies have intricate rituals associated with the timing of a loss of virgivity or a protection of virginity.
Prostitution in Religion
- In Babylon, prostitution was a duty
- The prostitute embodied the deity, thus the man was able to reach a divine state through prostitution.