When entering Surama Village in Guyana, one is met with the sight of a large totem pole standing in front of the village office. Amerindian societies in the Guianas (as well as those across broader Amazonia) have no history of making such objects
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Ontological Transformation among the Makushi
James Andrew Whitaker
The ‘Revelation’ in Durkheim's Sociology of Religion
A Moment of Creative Evolution?
William Watts Miller
crucial, interconnected changes. Comparisons with Durkheim's Thesis A message that Durkheim repeated again and again in his new journal was that, in the beginning, religion permeated the whole of social life and this religion was totemism. In
One hundred years after the publication of Totem and Taboo, Freud’s book is summarized, and its reception and current status noted.
Crime et religion chez Durkheim
Les liens forts entre ses sociologies criminelle et religieuse
est une pratique collective, liée à un ritualisme qui n'est pas sans rappeler la religion, si ce n'est la religion elle-même. Les marques inscrites sont ‘sacrées’, indélébiles, comme des totems qu'elles reproduisent. Le fait n'est pas anodin, c'est à
A Totem and a Taboo
Germans and Jews Re-enacting Aspects of the Holocaust
Holocaust possible, while for Jews it was a totem of belief that all Jews shared equally in the suffering. For Jews and Germans alike there may be a taboo on recognizing certain emotional commonalities between victims and perpetrators, although this
Children of the Totem – Children under the Law
Notes on the Filiation Bond in Emile Durkheim
This essay asks why Durkheim was so opposed to free consensual unions, in a support for marriage and the family. But it is above all an attempt to explore the theoretical sources of his insistent and even dogmatic opposition to 'free unions'. Accordingly, it involves Durkheim's thinking about the sacred in two key areas. One centres round issues of filiation, and involves his account of totems, clans and the individual's social identity. The other centres round his view that individualism grows along with the increasing activity of the state, and involves interrelated questions of property, inheritance, the contract and the role of civil law. The result is a tension in his thought between an emphasis on the sacred as the origin of things and a more secular concern with the importance in modern life of moral relations expressed and regulated by civil law. Although his opposition to free unions has roots in 'children of the totem', it is suggested it is above all a modern concern with 'children of the law'.
Modi's Journey from a Chowkidar (Watchman) to Great God
A Durkheimian Analysis
evolution of an elementary religion with chowkidar as a totem, the making of a clan, collective effervescence, invoking a civilised hero, and the emergence of a great god. The article suggests new concepts of actor totem, which acts in everyone's interest
On Halbwachs's Sociology of Knowledge Program
The Two Hidden Categories of ‘La doctrine d'Émile Durkheim’
idea of soul exists. It is a piece of the totem embodied, which has become the life principle of men. At the origin of the distinction between soul and body, between spiritual faculties and senses, we find the distinction between the profane and the
One Hundred Years of Anthropology of Religion
Ramon Sarró, Simon Coleman, and Ruy Llera Blanes
One could say that in 2012 the scientific study of religion, particularly in its anthropological form, has become one hundred years old. In 1912, Durkheim published The Elementary Forms of Religious Life, perhaps the most influential book in the social study of religion, and certainly in the anthropology of religion, of the entire twentieth century. But this was not the only seminal work published around a century ago. A little earlier than that, in 1909, Arnold van Gennep’s Les rites de passage inaugurated an interest in liminality and ritual that has accompanied our discipline ever since. That same year, Marcel Mauss wrote La prière, an unfinished thesis that started an equally unfinished interest in prayer, one of the central devotional practices in many religions across the globe. In 1910, Lévy-Bruhl published his first explicitly anthropological book, How Natives Think, a problematic ancestor of a debate about rationality and modes of thought that has accompanied anthropology and philosophy ever since. In 1913, Freud tackled the then fashionable topic of totemism in his Totem and Taboo. Around those early years of the century, too, Max Weber was starting to write about charisma, secularization, and rationalization, topics of enduring interest.
How might one consider debt in a highly emotional situation where its discharge is not possible? In the UK arena of bodily material procured for research or medicine, donations cannot be reciprocated. What are called ‘gifts’ are not only made to diffuse entities such as society or science, the procurement and treatment process often creates specific, if anonymous, recipients who are burdened with/grateful for a gift they cannot repay. Indeed to pay – and thus pay‐off – the perceived debt is usually against the law. The gift entails, and hence summons, the absence of money. This article offers a comment on gifts in a context where money forever hovers on the margins of the imagination, and where the more it is banned from sight, the more it creeps back in. In endless discussions about remuneration or compensation payments that are meant to fall short of outright purchase, people tend to focus on the characteristics of diverse organs and tissue, including gametes, and assume they know both what money is and what the gift is. The anthropologist is less certain. Totemic debates in anthropology come to the rescue in a rather odd fashion.