DSST Anthropology as a Discipline

In religion one prays for help while in magic he

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Time and place are essential features of ritual action, and both mark a specific orientation or setting for ritual. In religion one prays for help, while in magic he tries to force supernatural powers to help him. A magical act is a rite carried out to twist nature in a specific way to satisfy human desire. Symbols have much importance in both individual and social life. For example, the flag is believed to be the symbol of the country and held in great respect. Symbols may be referential or condensed. Referential symbols serve to provide information concerning some person or object. For example, the red light is a symbol of danger. Condensed symbols are used to express in compressed form something that is too detailed for economic expression. An example of this is shorthand or Morse Code. A rite of passage is a ritual that marks a change in a person's social or sexual status . Rites of passage include: the attendant rituals surrounding birth, circumcision, coming of age, etc. The first phase, separation, entails symbolic behavior that severs the individual from a previously fixed point in the social structure. The old status is erased in preparation for a new one. During the middle phase, the ritual subject, or "passenger," stripped of all manifestations of rank or role, enters into a suspended, or liminal, state between past and future identities eluding the usual cultural categories of classification. This phase is frequently likened to death, or to being in the darkness of the womb awaiting a rebirth. In the final phase the ritual subject emerges from the threshold and is reincorporated in society in his new social or religious role. Rites surrounding birth are often a complex of distinct rituals that prescribe different behavior on the part of the mother, the father, other relatives, nonfamilial members of the society, and with respect to the newborn. Observances may begin when pregnancy is first noted and may continue until the time of delivery, when the full rite of passage is observed, and for a variable period of time afterward . In many simple societies and in European societies of the past, the expectant mother is isolated from other members of society at this time for the stated reason that the blood that flows during childbirth has inherently harmful qualities. Old ethnological writings have created the impression that ritual attention is limited entirely to the father. Later investigations have made it appear doubtful that the mother in any society is free from ritual requirements. Rites at coming-of-age are the most variable in time in the life span and may be present or absent. In some societies such rites are observed for only one sex, are elaborate for one sex and simple for the other, or are not observed for either sex. Characteristically, rites at coming-of-age are not generally observed in the modern industrial civilizations or, as in the
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Jewish Bar Mitzvah and the Protestant confirmation of the United States, exist today more or less as vestiges of formerly important religious rites.
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