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124 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back

Sexual dimorphism

refers to differences in male and female biology besides the

contrasts in breasts and genitalia.

Sex differences

are biological, but gender encompasses all the traits that a culture

assigns to and inculcates in males and females; in other words, gender refers to

the cultural construction of whether one is female, male, or something else.

Gender roles

tasks and activities that a culture assigns to the sexes.

Gender stratification

unequal distribution of rewards (socially valued

resources, power, prestige, human rights, and personal freedom) between men and

women, reflecting their different positions in a social hierarchy.

Cross-cultural data indicate

indicate that the time and effort spent in subsistence activities by men and women tend to be about equal.

In foraging societies gender stratification is most marked by?

most marked when men contribute much more to the diet than women do (e.g., the Inuit and other northern hunters and fishers).

Where is gender status tends to be more equal when gathering?

When gathering—which tends to be women's work—is prominent (e.g., among tropical and semitropical foragers),

When is Gender stratification reduced?

when the domestic and public spheres are not sharply separated.

Domestic-public dichotomy, or the private-public contrast.

Strong differentiation between the home and the outside world

when is gender stratification promoted?

Often when domestic and public spheres are clearly separated, public activities have greater prestige than domestic ones do, and gender stratification is promoted.

in what society is the public and domestic spheres are least separate, hierarchy

is least marked, aggression and competition are most discouraged, and the rights,

activities, and spheres of influence of men and women overlap the most.

In foraging societies,

How long ago were we all foraging societies?

10,000 years

Which two men studied gender role and stratification in horticultural societies?

Martin and Voorhies (1975)

What did Martin and Voorhies find?

1. Women were found to be the main producers in horticultural societies. 2. In half of the societies, women did most of the cultivating.
3. In a third of the societies, men and women made equal contributions to

4. Men did most of the work in only 17 percent of the societies.
5. Women dominated horticulture in 64 percent of the matrilineal societies

and in 50 percent of the patrilineal ones.

Where does female status tend to be high and why?

Female status tends to be high in horticultural societies that are matrilineal and matrilocal.

Women tend to have high status in matrilineal, matrilocal societies because descent-group membership, succession to political positions, allocation of land, and overall social identity all come through female links.

Where is there increased gender stratification?

Patrilineal-Patrilocal Societies

what does Patrilineal-Patrilocal Societies consist of?

to pressure on resources.

As resources become scarce, intervillage warfare often increases.

Males dominate the public domain—growing and distributing prestige

crops, preparing food for feasts, arranging marriages, and trading pigs and controlling their use in ritual.

In densely populated areas of Papua New Guinea where there is strong pressure on resources, male-female avoidance is extreme: men regard contact with females (including sex) as dangerous and polluting,

gender among agriculturalists

When the economy is based on agriculture, women typically lose their role as

primary cultivators.

what is the difference in % between women working in an agricultural society and horticultural society?

Martin and Voorhies (1975) found women were the main workers in 50 percent of

the horticultural societies surveyed but in only 15 percent of the agricultural groups.

what is the difference in % between men working in an agricultural society and horticultural society?

Male subsistence labor dominated 81 percent of the agricultural societies but only 17 percent of the horticultural ones.

Patriarchal Societies

Patriarchy describes a political system ruled by men in which women have

inferior social and political status, including basic human rights.

Domestic Violence

Family violence and domestic abuse of women are worldwide problems. 2. Abuse of women is more common in societies where women are separated

from supportive kin (e.g., patrilineal-patrilocal societies).

when did the traditional idea that a women's place is at home spread in the united states?

emerged in the United States as industrialism spread after 1900.

As machine tools and mass production further reduced the need for female

labor, the notion that women were biologically unfit for factory work

began to emerge.

What caused increased female unemployment in the 1900s

inflation, a culture of consumption, the baby boom, and industrial expansion.

The increase in female-headed households stems from

male migration, civil strife (men off fighting), divorce, abandonment, widowhood, unwed adolescent parenthood, and, more generally, the idea that children are women's responsibility.

What Determines Gender Variation?

Gender roles and stratification have varied widely across cultures and through


Gender is flexible and varies with cultural, social, political, and economic factors.

The variability of gender in time and space suggests that it will continue to


Sexual orientation

refers to a person's habitual sexual attractions and activities.


Heterosexuality refers to sexual preference for members of the opposite sex.

Homosexuality refers to sexual preference for members of the same sex.

Bisexuality refers to sexual preference for members of both sexes.

Asexuality refers to indifference toward, or lack of attraction to, either sex.

Homosexual Behavior among the Etoro

Etoro culture illustrates the power of culture in molding human sexuality. 2. Etoro men believed that semen was necessary to give life force to a fetus. 3. Men were believed to have a limited supply of semen.

Heterosexual sex was discouraged and limited to only about 100 days a year.

Yehudi Cohen definition of adaptive strategies was used

to describe a society's system of

economic production.

Yehudi Cohen described adaptive strategies for societies system of economic production

Cohen argued that the most important reason for similarities between two or more unrelated societies is their possession of a similar adaptive


Cohen developed a typology of societies based on correlations between their economies and their social forms; this typology includes five adaptive strategies: foraging, horticulture, agriculture, pastoralism, and industrialism. This chapter focuses on the first four.

factors of a modern foragers

live in nation-states, depend to some extent on

government assistance, and are influenced by national and international policies and political and economic events in the world system.

Typologies suggest what?

Cohen's adaptive strategies, are useful because they suggest correlations

People who subsisted by hunting and gathering often, but not always,

lived in what type of society?

lived in band-organized societies.

Bands consist of how many people

were small groups of fewer than a hundred people, all related by kinship or marriage

what distinctions are there in foraging societies?

All foraging societies have social distinctions based on age.

Old people frequently are respected for their special knowledge of ritual and practical matters.

Most foraging societies are egalitarian (contrasts in prestige are minor and based on age and gender).


Horticulture is cultivation that does not make intensive use of land, labor, capital, or machinery.

Horticulture involves the use of simple tools and frequently slash-and- burn techniques.

Horticulture is also called shifting cultivation because the relationship between people and land is not permanent (i.e., horticulturalists shift between plots of land, leaving areas with exhausted soil or thick weed cover to lie fallow for several years before returning to cultivate them once again).


Agriculture involves intensive and continuous use of land.
2. Agriculture is more labor intensive because of its use of domesticated

animals, irrigation, and/or terracing.
3. Many agriculturists use animals for transport, as cultivating machines, and

for their manure.


-allows agriculturists to schedule their planting in advance (they

do not have to wait for a rainy season), and it makes it possible to cultivate a plot year after year.

- Irrigation enriches soil by creating ecosystems with several species of

plants and animals, many of them minute organisms, whose wastes

fertilize the land.


is an agricultural technique that allows steep hillsides to be cultivated and irrigated.

Costs and Benefits of Agriculture

-An agricultural field does not necessarily produce a higher single- year yield than does a horticultural plot.

-agriculture is very labor intensive (e.g., construction and maintenance of irrigation systems and terraces, care of animals), its yield relative to the labor invested is lower than that of horticulture.

c. The main advantage of agriculture is that its long-term yield per area is far greater and more dependable (agricultural land can yield one or two crops annually for years, or even generations).

Agricultural Intensification: People and the Environment

Agriculture has allowed human populations to move into (and transform) a much wider range of environments than was possible prior to the development of cultivation.

Intensified food production is associated with sedentism; growth in the

size and density of populations; and increased regulation of interpersonal

relations, land, labor, and other resources.

Intensive agriculture can have significant environmental effects, such as increased disease, deforestation, and loss of ecological diversity.


Pastoral economies are based on herds of domesticated animals (e.g., cattle,

sheep, goats, camels, yaks, reindeer).

Many pastoralists live in symbiosis with their herds (symbiosis is an obligatory

interaction between groups that is beneficial to each).

Two patterns of movement occur with pastoralism

nomadism and transhumance

pastoral nomadism


-The entire group—women, men, and children— moves with the animals throughout the year.

-With transhumance, part of the group moves with the herds, but most people stay in the home village.

Economic Systems

economy is a system of production, distribution, and consumption of

resources, and economics is the study of such systems.

Economic anthropology

studies economics in a comparative perspective.

mode of production

is a way of organizing production—"a set of social relations through which labor is deployed to wrest energy from nature using tools, skills, organization, and knowledge," in the words of anthropologist Eric Wolf.

capitalist mode of production

money buys labor power, and there is a social gap between the people (bosses and workers) involved in the production process.

nonindustrial societies

the mode of production is kin-based; labor usually is not bought but is given as a social obligation.

All societies divide economic labor according to gender and age, but the nature of these divisions varies from society to society.

In nonindustrial societies there is a more intimate relationship between the worker and the means of production than there is in industrial nations.

Means of Production

Means (or factors) of production include land (territory), labor, and


industrial Economies

In industrial economies, a worker is alienated from the product of

her or his work when the product is sold and the profits going to an


As a consequence, the worker has less pride in and personal

identification with their products.

Industrial workers also have impersonal relations with their

coworkers and employers.

Nonindustrial Societies

In nonindustrial societies, people usually feel more personal investment and a greater sense of accomplishment than do workers in industrial economies.

In nonindustrial societies, economy is embedded in society; the relations of production, distribution, and consumption are social relations with economic aspects.

Classical economic theory

assumes that individuals act rationally and strive to maximize profit (the profit motive).

Anthropological economic theory

demonstrates that people are not always motivated by the desire to

maximize profit—that depending on the society and the situation, people may try

to maximize profit, wealth, prestige, pleasure, comfort, or social harmony.


re small-scale agriculturists who live in nonindustrial states and

have rent fund obligations.

Peasants produce to feed themselves, to sell their produce, and to

pay rent.

All peasants live in state-organized societies and produce food

without the elaborate technology of modern farming or


Polanyi defined three principles that guide exchanges:

the market principle, redistribution, and reciprocity.

The Market Principle

a. The market principle dominates in capitalist economies.
b. With market exchange, items are bought and sold, using money,

with the goal of maximizing profit, and the law of supply and

demand determines value.
c. Bargaining is characteristic of market-principle exchanges.


Redistribution operates when goods, services, or their equivalent move from the local level to a center, usually through a hierarchy of officials who may consume some of the goods.

Eventually, goods are redistributed—that is, they flow in the reverse direction, down through the hierarchy and back to the local level.


Reciprocity is exchange between social equals, who are normally

related by kinship, marriage, or another close personal tie.

Reciprocity is dominant in more egalitarian societies (foragers,

cultivators, and pastoralists).

There are three degrees of reciprocity: generalized, balanced, and


Generalized Reciprocity

With generalized reciprocity, which is prevalent among foragers, someone gives to another person and expects nothing concrete or immediate in return.

Such exchanges are expressions of personal relationships, rather than primarily economic transactions.

Balanced Reciprocity

With balanced reciprocity, exchange occurs between people who

are more distantly related than are members of the same band or

household, and reciprocation is expected.

Although reciprocation need not come immediately, complete

failure to reciprocate will strain the social relationship.

Negative Reciprocity

Negative reciprocity involves exchanges with people outside or on the fringes of a social system.

In such exchanges, which are full of ambiguity and distrust (at least initially), each partner attempts to maximize profit and expects an immediate return.

What is the term used to describe the range from generalized to negative reciprocity

reciprocity continuum.


practiced by tribes of the North Pacific Coast of North America, are a widely studied ritual in which sponsors (assisted by members of their communities) gave away resources in exchange for greater prestige.

Cultural ecology

(a theoretical school that attempts to interpret cultural practices in terms of their long-term role in helping humans adapt to their environment) suggests instead that customs such as the potlatch are cultural adaptations to alternating periods of local abundance and shortage.

Anthropology Today: Scarcity and the Betsileo

People in Ivato felt that (in contrast to Americans) they had little need of money because they produced almost everything they used, and that they had all they needed. Over the past several decades, the concepts of scarcity, commerce, and negative reciprocity have become prevalent among the Betsileo as a result of rapid population growth, agricultural intensification (including the cultivation of cash crops), and increasing demand for cash.

anthropological approach to political systems and organization

is global and comparative and includes nonstates as well as the states and nation-states

usually studied by political scientists.

Power is the ability to exercise one's will over others, while authority is the socially approved use of power.

Sociopolitical organization

involves the regulation or management of relations among groups and their representatives.

Political regulation

includes such processes as decision making, social control, and conflict resolution.

Elman Service developed a typology with four kinds of sociopolitical


band, tribe, chiefdom, and state.


are small kin-based groups found among foragers.

chiefdom political structure

a form of sociopolitical organization intermediate between the tribe and the state, was kin-based like bands and tribes, but characterized by a permanent political structure and differential access to resources (some people had more wealth, prestige, and power than others did).

The state political structure

haracterized by formal government and socioeconomic stratification.

political organization (generalized trends) of states, foragers, horticultralists, and chiefdoms

-In bands and tribes—unlike states, which have clearly visible governments—political organization was not separate and distinct from the total social order.

-There are many correlations between economy and sociopolitical organization.

-Foragers tended to have band organization.
-Horticulturalists and pastoralists tended to have tribal organization.

-Chiefdoms and nonindustrial states usually had agricultural

economies, although herding was important in some Middle Eastern


Modern hunter-gatherers

should not be seen as representative of Stone Age peoples, all of whom also were foragers. Modern foragers live in nation-states and an interlinked world. Most contemporary hunter-gatherers rely on governments and on missionaries for at least part of what they consume.

Example of modern hunter-gathers

An example of changes in foraging communities in a globalizing world is the Basarwa San that have been affected by the policies of the government of Botswana, which relocated them after converting their ancestral lands into a wildlife reserve. They have also been influenced by other neighboring African communities and Europeans for centuries.

Susan Kent notes the tendency to stereotype foragers, to treat them all alike. They used to be stereotyped as isolated, primitive survivors of the Stone Age.

Foraging bands

refer to small, nomadic or seminomadic social

units, formed seasonally when component nuclear families got together.

The particular families in a band varied from year to year.

Marriage and kinship created ties between members of

different bands.

Band leaders were leaders in name only, and were first among

equals. Sometimes they gave advice or made decisions, but they had no way to enforce their decision.

Norms are cultural standards or guidelines

enable individuals to distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate behavior in a given society.

The aboriginal Inuit illustrate methods of settling disputes—conflict resolution—in a stateless society (e.g., song duels).

Prestige is esteem, respect, or approval for culturally

valued acts or qualities.

Tribes political organization

-Tribes usually have a horticultural or pastoral economy and are organized by village life/ membership in descent groups. Socioeconomic stratification and formal government is not found in tribes.

-main regulatory officials—village heads, "big men," descent-

group leaders, village councils, and leaders of pantribal associations—have only limited authority, as they lack the means of enforcing their decisions. like foragers, times are fairly, egalitarian.

-Status in tribes is based on age, gender, and personal traits.

The village head

- The Yanomami, who live in southern Venezuela and the adjacent part

of Brazil, are an example of a tribal society with a village head.

-The position of village head is achieved and comes with very limited

authority. The village head cannot issue order

-The village head must lead in generosity

-examples of this form of leadership are the Yanomami village

head and the big man in many societies of the South Pacific. differences exist.

The "Big Man"

like a village head, except that he had supporters in

several villages (rather than just one, like a village head) and thus was

a regulator of regional political organization.

Big men were common in societies of the South Pacific, particularly

the Melanesian Islands and Papua New Guinea.

Among the Kapauku of Irian Jaya, Indonesia, the big man (tonowi)

was the key political figure.


-nonkin groups, often based on common age or

gender, which link local groups in tribal societies.

-Secret societies are sodalities, made up exclusively of men or women, which have secret initiation ceremonies.

-based on age, gender, and ritual can link members of different local groups into a single social collectivity in tribe and thus create a sense of ethnic identity, of belonging to the same cultural tradition.

Pantribal sodalities

those that extend across the whole tribe, spanning several villages—sometimes arose in areas where two or more different cultures came into regular contact.

Pantribal sodalities were especially likely to develop in the presence of intertribal warfare.

Since pantribal sodalities drew their members from several villages, they were able to mobilize a large number of men for attacks or retaliation against other tribes.

During the 18th and 19th centuries, pressure from European contact created conditions that promoted the formation of pantribal sodalities (e.g., age sets) among Native American societies of the North American Great Plains.

Nomadic Politics

Various kinds of sociopolitical organization are found among


As regulatory problems among pastoralists increase, political

hierarchies are more complex. Political organization is less

personal, more formal, and less kinship-oriented.

Variability in sociopolitical organization among pastoralists is

illustrated by the Basseri and the Qashqai, two pastoral nomadic tribes in Iran.

Political and Economic Systems in Chiefdoms

Areas with chiefdoms included the circum-Caribbean, lowland

Amazonia, the southeastern United States, Polynesia, and the

megalithic cultures of Europe.

In chiefdoms (as in bands and tribes), social relations are mainly

based on kinship, marriage, descent, age, generation, and gender.

Unlike bands and tribes, chiefdoms are characterized by permanent

political regulation of the territory they administer.

Regulation is carried out by the chief and his or her assistants, who

occupy political offices.

. An office is a permanent position, which must be refilled

when it is vacated by death or retirement.
a. Because offices are refilled systematically, the structure of a

chiefdom endures across generations.

Status Systems in Chiefdoms

The status systems of chiefdoms and states are based upon

differential access to resources—that is, some men and women have

privileged access to power, prestige, and wealth.

Status Systems in States

Compared to chiefdoms, states are characterized by much clearer

class divisions (at least nobles and commoners).

In states, kinship ties do not extend from nobles to commoners

because of stratum endogamy—marriage within one's own group.

Stratum endogamy results in stratification, the creation of separate

social strata that differ in their access to wealth, prestige, and power.

Key factor distinguishing a State


Max Weber defined three related dimensions of social stratification

1. Economic status is based on wealth (a person's material assets).

2. Political status is based on power (the ability to exercise one's will over others).

3. Social status is based on prestige (esteem, respect, or approval for acts, deeds, or qualities considered exemplary).

archaic states

for the first time in human evolution—there were contrasts in wealth, power, and prestige between entire groups (social strata) of men and women.

- The superordinate (higher or elite) stratum had privileged access to wealth, power, and other valued resources.

- The subordinate (lower or underprivileged) stratum had limited access to resources.

Stratification has taken many forms

including caste, slavery, andclass systems.

Vertical mobility

is an upward or downward change in a person's

social status.

truly open-class system

would facilitate mobility. Individual

achievement and personal merit would determine social rank.

Caste systems

are closed, hereditary systems of stratification that often are dictated by religion.

Certain statuses, systems, and subsystems with specialized functions are

found in all states including:

Population control: fixing of boundaries, establishment of citizenship

categories, and the taking of a census.

Judiciary: laws, legal procedure, and judges.

Enforcement: permanent military and police forces.

Fiscal: taxation.

. In archaic states, these subsystems were integrated by a ruling system or government composed of civil, military, and religious officials.

Population Control

states create administrative divisions (e.g., provinces, districts, counties, subcounties, parishes) that are managed by lower-level officials.

The importance of kinship is greatly reduced in the sociopolitical

organization of states.

States foster geographic mobility and resettlement, severing

longstanding ties among people, land, and kin.

States assign different rights and obligations to different social groups—for example, citizens versus noncitizens; members of

different social classes (elites, commoners, and slaves); and soldiers

versus ordinary civilians.


States have laws, based on precedent and legislative proclamations, which regulate relations between individuals and groups.

All states also have courts and judges to handle disputes and crimes (violations of the legal code).

Unlike nonstates, states intervene in family affairs.

Despite states' attempts to curb internal conflict, the majority of armed conflicts during the last half-century began within states.


1. All states have agents to enforce judicial decisions.
2. State governments are concerned with preserving internal order and

guarding against external threats, as well as with defending hierarchy,

property, and the power of the law.

Fiscal Systems

A financial (or fiscal) system supports rulers, nobles, officials,

judges, military personnel, and other specialists in a state.

Of the resources collected by a state (e.g., via taxation), some are

redistributed to citizens while others (often more) are used to support

the government and the elite.

Common people in states usually must work harder than those in


Fiscal systems of archaic states helped to maintain and elaborate class


Anthony Wallace defined religion

as belief and ritual concerned with

supernatural beings, powers, and forces.


-religion focuses on bodies of people who gather together regularly for worship, and who accept a set of doctrines involving the relationship between the individual and divinity, the supernatural, or whatever is taken to be the ultimate nature of reality.

-Like ethnicity and language, religion also is associated with social divisions within and between societies and nations.

-Religion is a cultural universal

Anthropological study of religion

stresses the collective, shared, and enacted nature of religion, the emotions it generates, and the meanings it embodies.

Durkheim stressed religious effervescence, the bubbling up of collective emotional intensity generated by worship.

Victor Turner used the term communitas to refer to an intense community spirit, a feeling of great social solidarity, equality, and togetherness.

First evidence of early religious activity

Neandertal burials and European cave paintings may be evidence of early

religious activity.

E.B. Tylor

the founder of the anthropology of religion.

Tylor proposed that religion evolved through three stages

-animism, polytheism, monotheism.

Animism was a belief in spiritual beings that,

according to Tylor, originated from peoples' attempts to explain dreams and trances.

Polytheism is the belief in multiple gods.

Monotheism is the belief in a single, all-powerful deity.


sacred impersonal force that can reside in people, animals, plants, and objects.

a. Belief in mana was especially prominent in Melanesia (the area of the South Pacific that includes Papua New Guinea and adjacent islands).

Melanesian mana, similar to our notion of efficacy or luck, could be acquired or manipulated by people in different ways, such as through magic.


refers to supernatural techniques intended to accomplish

specific aims.

In imitative magic, magicians produce a desired effect by imitating it

(e.g., the use of "voodoo dolls").

With contagious magic, whatever is done to an object is believed to

affect a person who once had contact with it.

Magic can be associated with animism, mana, polytheism, or


Religion and magic can help reduce anxiety

Malinowski argued that people turn to magic as a means of control when they face uncertainty and danger.

The Trobriand Islanders turned to magic only in situations (e.g., sailing) that they could not control and that therefore were psychologically stressful.

In contemporary societies, magic persists as a means of reducing psychological anxiety in situations of uncertainty (e.g., baseball



formal—stylized, repetitive, and stereotyped—and performed in sacred places at set times.

Rituals include liturgical orders—sequences of words and actions

invented prior to the current performance of the ritual in which they


Rituals convey information about the participants and their traditions,

and translate enduring messages, values, and sentiments into action.

4. Rituals are inherently social, and by participating in them, performers signal that they accept a common social and moral order.

Rites of passage

customs associated with the transition from one

place or stage of life to another (e.g. Native American vision quests).

Rites of passage have three phases:

Separation—when participants withdraw from the group and begin moving from one place or status to another.

Liminality—the period between states, during which the participants have left one place or state but have not yet entered or joined the next.

Incorporation—when participants reenter society with a new status, having completed the rite.


involves the temporary suspension and even reversal of ordinary social distinctions, behaviors, and expectations.

Communitas refers to an intense community spirit, a feeling of great social solidarity, equality, and togetherness during collective liminality.

In certain societies, particularly nation-states, there are "permanent liminal groups" (e.g., sects, brotherhoods, cults) whose members adopt liminal features such as humility, poverty, equality, obedience, sexual abstinence, and silence.


Social solidarity was also promoted by totemism, which was

important in Native Australian religions.

In totemic societies, each descent group had a totem—an animal,

plant, or geographical feature—from which they claimed descent.

The members of a totemic group did not kill or eat their totem, except

once a year when people gathered for ceremonies dedicated to the


Totemism uses nature as a model for society.

People relate to nature through their totemic association with natural


Wallace identified four types of religion:

shamanic, communal, Olympian,

and monotheistic.

Shamanic Religion

Shamans are religious figures (e.g., curers, mediums, spiritualists, astrologers, palm readers, diviners) who mediate between people and supernatural beings and forces.

Shamanic religions are most characteristic of foraging societies.

Shamans often set themselves off symbolically from ordinary people by assuming a different or ambiguous sex or gender role.

Communal Religion

Communal religions have shamans as well as community

rituals such as harvest ceremonies and collective rites of


Communal religions are polytheistic—that is, their adherents

believe in several deities who control aspects of nature.

Although they are found in some foraging societies,

communal religions are more typical of farming societies.

Olympian Religion

aOlympian religions first appeared in states.

Such religions have full-time, professional priesthoods that are hierarchically and bureaucratically organized, like the state itself.

Olympian religions are polytheistic, characterized by pantheons of powerful anthropomorphic gods with specialized functions.

Monotheistic Religion

Like Olympian religions, monotheistic religions have


In monotheism, all supernatural phenomena are

manifestations of, or are under the control of, a single eternal,

omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent supreme being.

world-rejecting religion

describes most forms of Christianity. The term refers to their tendency to reject the natural (mundane, ordinary, material, secular) world and to focus instead on a higher (sacred, transcendent) realm of reality.

World Religions

Christianity (with more than 2 billion members) and Islam (with 1.3 billion

practitioners) are the two largest religions in the world today.

More than a billion people claim no official religion, but only about a fifth of

them are self-proclaimed atheists.

Revitalization Movements

Religious movements are social movements that occur in times of

change, in which religious leaders emerge and undertake to alter or

revitalize a society.

Christianity originated as a revitalization movement.

The colonial-era Iroquois reformation led by Handsome Lake is

another example of a revitalization movement.

Cargo Cults

Cargo cults are revitalization movements that emerge when traditional communities have regular contact with industrial societies but lack their wealth, technology, and living standards.

The cargo cults of Melanesia and Papua New Guinea blended Christian doctrine with aboriginal beliefs and practices.

Cargo cults take their name from their focus on cargo—European goods that have been brought to the region by cargo planes and ships.

Cargo cults paved the way for unified political action through which indigenous communities eventually regained their autonomy.

Secular Rituals

A. Ritual-like behavior can occur in secular contexts.
B. If the distinction between the supernatural and the natural is not consistently

made in a society (e.g., the Betsileo view witches and dead ancestors as real people), it can be difficult to define what constitutes religion and what does not.

C. The behavior considered appropriate for religious occasions varies tremendously from culture to culture.