Purity and Danger

Author: Mary Douglas
Publisher: Psychology Press
ISBN: 0415291054
Release Date: 2003
Genre: Social Science

Purity and Danger is acknowledged as a modern masterpiece of anthropology. It is widely cited in non-anthropological works and gave rise to a body of application, rebuttal and development within anthropology. In 1995 the book was included among the Times Literary Supplement's hundred most influential non-fiction works since WWII. Incorporating the philosophy of religion and science and a generally holistic approach to classification, Douglas demonstrates the relevance of anthropological enquiries to an audience outside her immediate academic circle. She offers an approach to understanding rules of purity by examining what is considered unclean in various cultures. She sheds light on the symbolism of what is considered clean and dirty in relation to order in secular and religious, modern and primitive life.

Leviticus as Literature

Author: Mary Douglas
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780198150923
Release Date: 1999
Genre: Religion

This first full-scale account of Leviticus by a world renowned anthropologist presents the biblical work as a literary masterpiece. Seen in an anthropological perspective Leviticus has a mystical structure which plots the book into three parts corresponding to the three parts of the desert tabernacle, both corresponding to the parts of Mount Sinai. This completely new reading transforms the interpretation of the purity laws. The pig and other forbidden animals are not abhorrent, they command the same respect due to all God's creatures. Boldly challenging several traditions of Bible criticism, Mary Douglas claims that Leviticus is not the narrow doctrine of a crabbed professional priesthood but a powerful intellectual statement about a modern religion which emphasizes God's justice and compassion.

A General Theory of Magic

Author: Marcel Mauss
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 9781134522248
Release Date: 2005-07-05
Genre: Philosophy

First written by Marcel Mauss and Henri Humbert in 1902, A General Theory of Magic gained a wide new readership when republished by Mauss in 1950. As a study of magic in 'primitive' societies and its survival today in our thoughts and social actions, it represents what Claude Lévi-Strauss called, in an introduction to that edition, the astonishing modernity of the mind of one of the century's greatest thinkers. The book offers a fascinating snapshot of magic throughout various cultures as well as deep sociological and religious insights still very much relevant today. At a period when art, magic and science appear to be crossing paths once again, A General Theory of Magic presents itself as a classic for our times.

Risk and Culture

Author: Mary Douglas
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 0520907396
Release Date: 1983-10-27
Genre: Nature

Can we know the risks we face, now or in the future? No, we cannot; but yes, we must act as if we do. Some dangers are unknown; others are known, but not by us because no one person can know everything. Most people cannot be aware of most dangers at most times. Hence, no one can calculate precisely the total risk to be faced. How, then, do people decide which risks to take and which to ignore? On what basis are certain dangers guarded against and others relegated to secondary status? This book explores how we decide what risks to take and which to ignore, both as individuals and as a culture.

Biosocial Becomings

Author: Tim Ingold
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9781107025639
Release Date: 2013-06-13
Genre: Philosophy

Going beyond the division of nature and society, this unique book explores human life as a process of biosocial becoming.

Throughout Your Generations Forever

Author: Nancy Jay
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226395723
Release Date: 1992-07-01
Genre: Religion

Why does sacrifice, more than any other major religious institution, depend on gender dichotomy? Why do so many societies oppose sacrifice to childbirth, and why are childbearing women so commonly excluded from sacrificial practices? In this feminist study of relations between sacrifice, gender, and social organization, Nancy Jay reveals sacrifice as a remedy for having been born of woman, and hence uniquely suited to establishing certain and enduring paternity. Drawing on examples of ancient and modern societies, Jay synthesizes sociology of religion, ethnography, biblical scholarship, church history, and classics to argue that sacrifice legitimates and maintains patriarchal structures that transcend men's dependence on women's reproductive powers.

Natural Symbols

Author: Mary Douglas
Publisher: Psychology Press
ISBN: 9780415314541
Release Date: 2003
Genre: Social Science

One of the most important works of modern anthropology. Written against the backdrop of the student uprisings of the late 1960s, the book took seriously the revolutionary fervour of the times, but instead of seeking to destroy the rituals and symbols that can govern and oppress, Mary Douglas saw instead that if transformation were needed, it could only be made possible through better understanding. Expressed with clarity and dynamism, the passionate analysis which follows remains one of the most insightful and rewarding studies of human behaviour ever written.

A aisa s Gifts

Author: Michele Stephen
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 0520915275
Release Date: 1995-03-01
Genre: Social Science

Filled with insight, provocative in its conclusions, A'aisa's Gifts is a groundbreaking ethnography of the Mekeo of Papua New Guinea and a valuable contribution to anthropological theory. Based on twenty years' fieldwork, this richly detailed study of Mekeo esoteric knowledge, cosmology, and self-conceptualizations recasts accepted notions about magic and selfhood. Drawing on accounts by Mekeo ritual experts and laypersons, this is the first book to demonstrate magic's profound role in creating the self. It also argues convincingly that dream reporting provides a natural context for self-reflection. In presenting its data, the book develops the concept of "autonomous imagination" into a new theoretical framework for exploring subjective imagery processes across cultures.

Ethnographic Sorcery

Author: Harry G. West
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226894126
Release Date: 2008-09-15
Genre: Social Science

According to the people of the Mueda plateau in northern Mozambique, sorcerers remake the world by asserting the authority of their own imaginative visions of it. While conducting research among these Muedans, anthropologist Harry G. West made a revealing discovery—for many of them, West’s efforts to elaborate an ethnographic vision of their world was itself a form of sorcery. In Ethnographic Sorcery, West explores the fascinating issues provoked by this equation. A key theme of West’s research into sorcery is that one sorcerer’s claims can be challenged or reversed by other sorcerers. After West’s attempt to construct a metaphorical interpretation of Muedan assertions that the lions prowling their villages are fabricated by sorcerers is disputed by his Muedan research collaborators, West realized that ethnography and sorcery indeed have much in common. Rather than abandoning ethnography, West draws inspiration from this connection, arguing that anthropologists, along with the people they study, can scarcely avoid interpreting the world they inhabit, and that we are all, inescapably, ethnographic sorcerers.

Finding Your Way with Your Baby

Author: Dilys Daws
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 9781317654186
Release Date: 2015-02-11
Genre: Psychology

Finding Your Way with Your Baby explores the emotional experience of the baby in the first year, and that of the mother, father and other significant adults. It does so in a way that is deeply informed by psychoanalytic understandings, infant observation, developmental science and decades of clinical experience. Combining the wisdom of many years' work with the freshness of up-to-date knowledge, Dilys Daws and Alexandra de Rementeria engage with the most difficult emotional experiences that are often glossed over in parenting books – such as pregnancy, through birth into bonding, ambivalence about the baby, depression, and the emotional turmoil so often brought to the surface by being a new parent. Acknowledgement and understanding about this darker side of family life offers a sense of relief that can allow parents to harness the power of knowing, owning and sharing feelings to transform situations and break negative cycles and old ways of relating. With real-life examples, references to current thinking and a calm and simple writing style they also provide new insights into the more commonly covered issues such as weaning, sleeping and crying. Finding Your Way with Your Baby is primarily aimed at parents but it will be a helpful resource for all those working with parents and babies including health visitors, midwives, social workers, GPs, paediatricians and childcare workers. It will appeal to parents and professionals who are interested in ideas from psychoanalytic clinical practice and the latest research in developmental psychology and neuroscience.

The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Inter Religious Dialogue

Author: Catherine Cornille
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 9781118529942
Release Date: 2013-03-13
Genre: Religion

This comprehensive volume brings together a distinguished editorial team, including some of the field’s pioneers, to explore the aims, practice, and historical context of interfaith collaboration. Explores in full the background, history, objectives, and discourse between the leaders and practitioners of the world’s major religions Examines relations between religions from around the world, moving well beyond the common focus on Christianity, to also cover over 12 major religions Features a wealth of case studies on contemporary interreligious dialogue Charts a long-term shift away from a competitive rivalry between belief systems, and a change in focus towards the more respectful, cooperative approach reflected in institutions such as the World Council of Churches Includes up-to-date commentary on the growing dialogue of recent years, written by some of the leading figures working in the field of interfaith discourse

Dining with John

Author: Esther Kobel
Publisher: BRILL
ISBN: 9789004217782
Release Date: 2011-11-11
Genre: Religion

This book provides an analysis of the role of food, drink and meals in the Fourth Gospel, in the formation of early Christian identity, and of the historical circumstances in which Johannine meal practices may have developed.

Thinking in Circles

Author: Mary Douglas
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 0300134959
Release Date: 2007-01-01
Genre: Language Arts & Disciplines

Immanuel Kant's views on politics, peace, and history have lost none of their relevance since their publication more than two centuries ago. This volume contains a comprehensive collection of Kant's writings on international relations theory and political philosophy, superbly translated and accompanied by stimulating essays. Pauline Kleingeld provides a lucid introduction to the main themes of the volume, and three essays by distinguished contributors follow: Jeremy Waldron on Kant's theory of the state; Michael W. Doyle on the implications of Kant's political theory for his theory of international relations; and Allen W. Wood on Kant's philosophical approach to history and its current relevance.