Medusa's Hair

An Essay on Personal Symbols and Religious Experience

Author: Gananath Obeyesekere

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 9780226616018

Category: History

Page: 217

View: 3364

The great pilgrimage center of southeastern Sri Lanka, Kataragama, has become in recent years the spiritual home of a new class of Hindu-Buddhist religious devotees. These ecstatic priests and priestesses invariably display long locks of matted hair, and they express their devotion to the gods through fire walking, tongue-piercing, hanging on hooks, and trance-induced prophesying. The increasing popularity of these ecstatics poses a challenge not only to orthodox Sinhala Buddhism (the official religion of Sri Lanka) but also, as Gananath Obeyesekere shows, to the traditional anthropological and psychoanalytic theories of symbolism. Focusing initially on one symbol, matted hair, Obeyesekere demonstrates that the conventional distinction between personal and cultural symbols is inadequate and naive. His detailed case studies of ecstatics show that there is always a reciprocity between the personal-psychological dimension of the symbol and its public, culturally sanctioned role. Medusa's Hair thus makes an important theoretical contribution both to the anthropology of individual experience and to the psychoanalytic understanding of culture. In its analyses of the symbolism of guilt, the adaptational and integrative significance of belief in spirits, and a host of related issues concerning possession states and religiosity, this book marks a provocative advance in psychological anthropology.

African Traditions in the Study of Religion in Africa

Emerging Trends, Indigenous Spirituality and the Interface with other World Religions

Author: Dr Afe Adogame,Dr Bolaji Bateye,Professor Ezra Chitando

Publisher: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.

ISBN: 1409481786

Category: Religion

Page: 278

View: 3878

The historiography of African religions and religions in Africa presents a remarkable shift from the study of 'Africa as Object' to 'Africa as Subject', thus translating the subject from obscurity into the global community of the academic study of religion. This book presents a unique multidisciplinary exploration of African traditions in the study of religion in Africa and the new African diaspora. The book is structured under three main sections - Emerging trends in the teaching of African Religions; Indigenous Thought and Spirituality; and Christianity, Hinduism and Islam. Contributors drawn from diverse African and global contexts situate current scholarly traditions of the study of African religions within the purview of academic encounter and exchanges with non-African scholars and non-African contexts. African scholars enrich the study of religions from their respective academic and methodological orientations. Jacob Kehinde Olupona stands out as a pioneer in the socio-scientific interpretation of African indigenous religion and religions in Africa. This book is to his honour and marks his immense contribution to an emerging field of study and research.

Metzler Lexikon Religion

Gegenwart - Alltag - Medien. Haar-Osho-Bewegung. Bd. 2

Author: Christoph Auffarth,Jutta Bernard,Hubert Mohr,Agnes Imhof,Silvia Kurre

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: 9783476015525

Category: Mass media

Page: 632

View: 6037


Routledge Handbook of Body Studies

Author: Bryan S Turner

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1136903313

Category: Social Science

Page: 448

View: 7164

In the last three decades, the human body has gained increasing prominence in contemporary political debates, and it has become a central topic of modern social sciences and humanities. Modern technologies – such as organ transplants, stem-cell research, nanotechnology, cosmetic surgery and cryonics – have changed how we think about the body. In this collection of thirty original essays by leading figures in the field, these issues are explored across a number of theoretical and disciplinary perspectives, including pragmatism, feminism, queer theory, post-modernism, post-humanism, cultural sociology, philosophy and anthropology. A wide range of case studies, which include cosmetics, diet, organ transplants, racial bodies, masculinity and sexuality, eating disorders, religion and the sacred body, and disability, are used to appraise these different perspectives. In addition, this Handbook explores various epistemological approaches to the basic question: what is a body? It also offers a strongly themed range of chapters on empirical topics that are organized around religion, medicine, gender, technology and consumption. It also contributes to the debate over the globalization of the body: how have military technology, modern medicine, sport and consumption led to this contemporary obsession with matters corporeal? The Handbook’s clear, direct style will appeal to a wide undergraduate audience in the social sciences, particularly for those studying medical sociology, gender studies, sports studies, disability studies, social gerontology, or the sociology of religion. It will serve to consolidate the new field of body studies.

The Medusa Reader

Author: Marjorie Garber,Nancy J. Vickers

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1136635416

Category: Art

Page: 288

View: 4172

Ranging from classical times to pop culture, this collection will appeal to art historians, feminists, classicists, cultural critics, and anyone interested in mythology.

Scham und Schönheit

über Identität und Selbstvergewisserung bei den Fulbe Nordbenins

Author: Elisabeth Boesen

Publisher: N.A


Category: Benin

Page: 272

View: 8910


Sacred Pain

Hurting the Body for the Sake of the Soul

Author: Ariel Glucklich

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780198030409

Category: Religion

Page: 288

View: 7017

Why would anyone seek out the very experience the rest of us most wish to avoid? Why would religious worshipers flog or crucify themselves, sleep on spikes, hang suspended by their flesh, or walk for miles through scorching deserts with bare and bloodied feet? In this insightful new book, Ariel Glucklich argues that the experience of ritual pain, far from being a form of a madness or superstition, contains a hidden rationality and can bring about a profound transformation of the consciousness and identity of the spiritual seeker. Steering a course between purely cultural and purely biological explanations, Glucklich approaches sacred pain from the perspective of the practitioner to fully examine the psychological and spiritual effects of self-hurting. He discusses the scientific understanding of pain, drawing on research in fields such as neuropsychology and neurology. He also ranges over a broad spectrum of historical and cultural contexts, showing the many ways mystics, saints, pilgrims, mourners, shamans, Taoists, Muslims, Hindus, Native Americans, and indeed members of virtually every religion have used pain to achieve a greater identification with God. He examines how pain has served as a punishment for sin, a cure for disease, a weapon against the body and its desires, or a means by which the ego may be transcended and spiritual sickness healed. "When pain transgresses the limits," the Muslim mystic Mizra Asadullah Ghalib is quoted as saying, "it becomes medicine." Based on extensive research and written with both empathy and critical insight, Sacred Pain explores the uncharted inner terrain of self-hurting and reveals how meaningful suffering has been used to heal the human spirit.


festschrift für Gustav Roth zum 90. Geburtstag

Author: Gustav Roth,Ute Hüsken

Publisher: N.A


Category: Buddhist literature

Page: 522

View: 8239


When men are women

manhood among Gabra Nomads of east Africa

Author: John Colman Wood

Publisher: Univ of Wisconsin Pr

ISBN: 9780299165901

Category: History

Page: 240

View: 9836

In this fascinating exploration of the cultural models of manhood, When Men Are Women examines the unique world of the nomadic Gabra people, a camel-herding society in northern Kenya. Gabra men denigrate women and feminine things, yet regard their most prestigious men as women. As they grow older, all Gabra men become d'abella, or ritual experts, who have feminine identities. Wood's study draws from structuralism, psychoanalytic theory, and anthropology to probe the meaning of opposition and ambivalence in Gabra society. When Men Are Women provides a multifaceted view of gender as a cultural construction independent of sex, but nevertheless fundamentally related to it. By turning men into women, the Gabra confront the dilemmas and ambiguities of social life. Wood demonstrates that the Gabra can provide illuminating insight into our own culture's understanding of gender and its function in society.

Fertile Disorder

Spirit Possession and Its Provocation of the Modern

Author: Kalpana Ram

Publisher: University of Hawaii Press


Category: Religion

Page: 317

View: 3240

This book focuses on spirit possession and its role in the lives and experiences of rural Tamil women in South India.

Institutions and Inequalities

Essays in Honour of Andre Beteille

Author: André Béteille,Ramachandra Guha,Jonathan P. Parry

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA


Category: Social Science

Page: 302

View: 6631

This book brings together a set of original essays written in tribute to Andre Beteille. Beteille's work as an outstanding sociologist and social anthropologist has been marked by a distinctive combination of theoretical innovation and scrupulous scholarship. These essays, likewise, match theory with empirical data, engaging with, extending, and occasionally disputing the arguments of Beteille's work. Most of the essays relate to India, but two explore inequalities in China and Russia, and in Japan and England respectively.

Belonging to Others

Cultural Construction of Womenhood in a Village in Bangladesh

Author: Jitka Kotalová

Publisher: N.A


Category: Gameranga (Bangladesh)

Page: 252

View: 7307

This Is A Study Of Social Organisation Focusing On The Symbolic Construction Of Womenhood In Muslim Peasant Community In Bangladesh.

Jerusalem and Sao Paulo

The New Jewish Orthodoxy in Focus

Author: Marta F. Topel

Publisher: University Press of Amer

ISBN: 9780761841555

Category: Religion

Page: 193

View: 4546

Jerusalem and Sao Paulo describes the long process these young people undergo in their choice of Jewish Orthodoxy. Due to the fact that Judaism is an ortho-practical religion, which emphasizes praxis over belief and dogma, the conversion to Orthodoxy is radical, traumatic, and more encompassing than that experienced by other Brazilians who adopt religions such as Neo-Pentacolism, Buddhism, Taoism, and Afro-Brazilian creeds.

Culture, Subject, Psyche

Dialogues in Psychoanalysis and Anthropology

Author: Anthony Molino

Publisher: Whurr Pub Limited

ISBN: 9781861564450

Category: Psychology

Page: 217

View: 1254

The 20th Century was marked by two profoundly different insights into human nature: one views each person as the product of unconscious desires, while the other sees the individual as the product of language and culture. While some still believe these two insights to be irreconcilable, many social scientists are attempting to integrate psychoanalysis into their culturally-bound research. In this groundbreaking new work, Anthony Molino has collected in-depth interviews with seven renowned anthropologists and social theorists: Marc Auge, Vincent Crapanzano, Kathering Ewing, Gananath Obeyesekere, Michael Rustin, Kathleen Stewart and Paul Williams. These dialogues, alongside essays by Molino, anthropologists Wesley Shumar and Waude Kracke, and psychoanalyst Lucia Villela, update the prevailing conceptions of psychoanalysis within anthropology, exploring distinctive psychoanalytic contributions and ethnographic theory and practice.