Download The Firm and the Formless: Religion and Identity in by Hans Mol PDF

By Hans Mol

This quantity is woven round the concept that wholeness (the company) and fragmentation (risking formlessness) exchange in human affairs. This subject is utilized to the historical past and the current situation of Australian Aboriginals. Their faith is visible in an effort to bolster a precarious id and to confirm order in an lifestyles which might in a different way develop into formless. It bargains with totemism as a sort of ordering various frequently conflicting identities. the writer describes the fashionable main issue of Aborigines in Australian society and concludes that their revitalization will happen purely once they have the ability to make financial self-sufficiency subordinate to a workable and enterprise view of life. He significantly integrates into his analyses and interpretations the positions of such famous students as Frazer, Durkheim, Freud, Lévi-Strauss, Radcliffe-Brown, Eliade, and Stanner. the amount should be of curiosity to scholars of sociology, anthropology, and faith.

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Extra info for The Firm and the Formless: Religion and Identity in Aboriginal Australia

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Lloyd Warner did his fieldwork from 1926 to 1929. He reported extensive singing and dancing at the various ceremonies. Some of the dances, he said, simulated fights between the living and the dead and some of the songs symbolized change (1964,423). As part of the rites, food was consumed by the clansmen and the close male relatives of the Ritual 45 dead man. Others could (and did) watch this communion but could not participate. Warner interprets the primary motive for these rites to be "to reintegrate the society, close its ranks after the removal of one of its members, and once more assert its solidarity The period of mourning corresponds fairly definitely to the period of readjustment of the social structure to his social loss" (1964, 434).

It was taken for granted that women or children who either accidentally or purposely watched the secret male ceremonies from which they were expressly excluded would be speared forthwith. The position of ritual leader and medicine-man in Aboriginal society was quite powerful (as it still is in Arnhem Land, for instance). He can cure the sick and be the go-between of the people and The Dreaming. In South-Western Victoria the medicine-man was thought to go up into the clouds to bring down a spirit with whom he could inspect the body of the patient (El kin, 1977,75).

And this poses a problem. The profane is identified with the non-social or the greedy self. Contrasting forms of sacredness are inadmissable in Durkheim's framework. Therefore, the anti-social stances of sectarian movements, for instance, are, by definition, non-religious. Or selfrealization as the sacred principle of humanism cannot be sacred, in spite of the solemn commitments it engenders in humanists and psychoanalysts alike. Another problem with Durkheim's analysis is that theory and example do not fit.

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