The Devil And Commodity Fetishism Analysis

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Regarding the influence of each society, the prevalence of capitalism also plays a major role in shaping rituals. Just as in Michael Taussig’s The Devil and Commodity Fetishism in South America, the Harijan caste is in a precapitalist state as the people still see essences of people in products, separate from capitalist societies like America in which products are viewed as lifeforms themselves. This is especially apparent in the practice of bringing rice to oracles, which is said to contain the essence of a particular place and family, which enables the oracle to give the family more information about the affliction. Sax describes this process as one in which “One takes 1.25 rupees and a handful of rice from one’s home and circles them over …show more content…
For industrial, capitalist societies, commodity fetishism involves “the split between persons and the things that they produce and exchange. The result of this split is the subordination of men to the things they produce, which appear to be independent and self-empowered” (Taussig, 37). This explanation aligns with the individualistic aspect of American society and how it differs from the Harijan dividualistic orientation.
Despite the mostly common belief in the power of gods, demons, and the devil to possess people, there are system of skepticism in place for Harijans and Catholics that reflect that Harijans are beginning to incorporate what many Americans might see as a more rational approach. Despite rising skepticism from both groups, Betty points out that “there is mounting evidence today that evil spirits do oppress and occasionally even possess the unwary, the weak, the unprepared,the unlucky or the targeted” (Betty, 14). Sax discusses that by turning more towards science “some “modern” local healers even pursue their calling without ritual, thus making their practice
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Ewing explains how the anthropological atheism approach is one in which an attempt to be neutral when encountering a new culture or religion is actually just another way of not believing, as American society pushes for a more rational type of thinking. Ewing’s solution to avoid seeing “subjects of research as objects” involves higher stakes, yet she explains that “a mutuality of this sort also allows us to treat members of another community as equals” (Ewing, 579). As an atheist in a religious family, it was and still is hard to remain neutral in front of them, and yet it only concealed my refusal to believe. By leaving myself open to the possibilities that Catholic practices might have something to offer to me even though I do not consider myself a part of the religion, I am better able to understand its importance without abandoning my own beliefs. This made it easier to apply an open mindset when reading about the Harijans, and in turn I found it easier to see what possession rituals have to offer Harijans instead of seeing the practices as irrational or

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