Nobody downloaded yet

MARY DOUGLAS' NATURAL SYMBOLS - Research Paper Example

Comments (1) Cite this document
Summary
Mary Douglas (1921-2007), a British social anthropologist, is widely recognized for her book “Natural Symbols” and the culture theory. “Natural Symbols” gives a vivid description of the human culture in terms of natural cues and bodily symbols. …
Download full paperFile format: .doc, available for editing
GRAB THE BEST PAPER96.4% of users find it useful
MARY DOUGLAS NATURAL SYMBOLS
Read TextPreview

Extract of sample
"MARY DOUGLAS' NATURAL SYMBOLS"

Download file to see previous pages According to Douglas, natural symbols are an important determinant of the nature of social and religious rituals practiced by all cultures worldwide. These natural symbols could be derived from “blood, breath or excrement” and each one of them has a social meaning and implication. Using these bodily symbols, the choices, preferences and perceptions of every culture can be studied. According to Mary Douglas, the way a person treats his/her body explains his/her perception of the society. The hierarchies existing in a society are very much similar to how a human treats his various organs. She explains: According to one, the body will tend to be conceived as an organ of communication. The major preoccupations will be with its functioning effectively; the relation of head to subordinate members will be a model of the central control system, the favorite metaphors of statecraft will harp upon the flow of blood in the arteries, sustenance and the restoration of strength. According to another, though the body will also be seen as a vehicle of life, it will be vulnerable in different ways. The dangers to it will come… from failure to control the quality of what it absorbs through the orifices; fear of poisoning, protection of boundaries, aversion to bodily waste products and medical theory that enjoins frequent purging. Another again will be very practical about the possible uses of bodily rejects, very cool about recycling waste matter and about the pay-off from such practices. The distinction between the life within the body and the body that carries it will hold no interest. In the control, areas of these society controversies about spirit and matter will scarcely arise. But at the other end of the spectrum … a different attitude will be seen. Here the body is not primarily the vehicle of life, for life will be seen as purely spiritual and the body as irrelevant matter. Here we can locate millennial tendencies from our early history to the present day. For these people society appears as a system that does not work. (Douglas 1996, 16-17) The Body, Religion and Anthropology In her book, Douglas explains how the ritualistic patterns of a culture can be derived through their body symbolism. This book examines religion from an anthropological perspective, explaining the ritualistic and socialistic norms existent in all cultures. Thus, in order to understand a culture truly, a thorough study of the natural symbols occurring in the society is mandatory. Sarah Coakley writes in Religion and the body: Anthropologists have long been interested in ideas about the body. Thus, in the nineteenth-century anthropology, the centrality of the notion of ‘race’ involved detailed studies of the bodies of ‘primitives’. European imperialism made possible, and evolutionary theories of progress encouraged and fed on, the detailed description and classification of types of European and non- European bodies.1 As is evident, the body forms an important element of all anthropological studies that aim at a proper analysis of a given culture. According to Coakley, by the end of the nineteenth century, studies focusing on the “symbolic aspects of the body in primitive cultures” became increasingly prevalent. It was believed that such a study would tell us “something profound of the human mind”2. Mary Douglas is not the only one to have elaborated on the significance of bodily symbols in anthropology. Many other works, like those of Benthall and Pohemus, Blacking etc. have brought out the importance of the “Anthropology of the Body”. However, Douglas’ work remains the most popular in terms of both its academic value and interesting notions. Harries (1993) interprets natural symbols as follows, By natural symbols, I ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
Cite this document
  • APA
  • MLA
  • CHICAGO
(“MARY DOUGLAS' NATURAL SYMBOLS Research Paper Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 1750 words”, n.d.)
Retrieved from https://studentshare.org/anthropology/1428071-mary-douglas-on-natural-symbols
(MARY DOUGLAS' NATURAL SYMBOLS Research Paper Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 1750 Words)
https://studentshare.org/anthropology/1428071-mary-douglas-on-natural-symbols.
“MARY DOUGLAS' NATURAL SYMBOLS Research Paper Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 1750 Words”, n.d. https://studentshare.org/anthropology/1428071-mary-douglas-on-natural-symbols.
  • Cited: 0 times
Comments (1)
Click to create a comment or rate a document
ca
candicejacobi added comment 8 months ago
Student rated this paper as
Terrific work done on the "MARY DOUGLAS' NATURAL SYMBOLS". I think it is the best example I have seen so far.
CHECK THESE SAMPLES - THEY ALSO FIT YOUR TOPIC
Frederick douglas
...a new mission for his words to employ himself as the self made man and the self conscious hero (Blight, 1993, p. 1-15). The writing revolves around the life of Douglass, the journey of him from chains of slavery to freedom. His writing shows his mastery on the language and rhetoric. It is his effort to educate himself that needs appreciation. The writing also reveals his brave nature as he does not fear while talking about the social evils which were practiced with the backing of the church. The book depicts the human character and the greed in them. It’s about morality of the human character and the dichotomy that is present in them. The author rightly criticizes the pretense in the character of the rich masters who on...
5 Pages(1250 words)Book Report/Review
Frederick Douglas
...? Frederick Douglas Frederick Douglas Born in the year 1818, Fredrick Douglass, was one of the most renowned African American leaders of the 19th century. Douglass was a dedicated and passionate editor, presidential advisor and bestselling author who crusaded immensely for human rights. Douglass, who was a voice for social justice, was a prominent abolitionist of his time who resiliently advocated for women’s suffrage. Douglass was born as Fredrick Augustus Washington Bailey to a white father and an African slave mother. Douglass grew up in slavery in Tuckahoe in Maryland. At the age of only a few weeks, Douglass separated from his mother and was ultimately raised by his grandparents. However, at the age...
3 Pages(750 words)Essay
Frederik Douglas
...Americans. Nicholas Buccola stated that, “In the ‘Who and What Is woman?” speech he delivered at the annual meeting of the New England Woman Suffrage Association in 1886, Douglass relied on a natural law argument to make the case that the right of suffrage should be extended to women” (67). He did not limit his political agitation within the contest of anti-slavery protest. Within this scenario, his speech at Bates College, Maine is important. So, one can easily identify the fact that he extended his political agitation to create awareness among the mass on voting rights, and equality before the law. Fight to gain political rights In the initial stages, Douglass provided ample importance to social reformation. Within...
6 Pages(1500 words)Research Paper
Interpreting Symbols
.... Hence, the symbol provokes to action, demonstrating the causative nature of this approach. Similarly, the notion that the icons contain a historical communication of the culture that is meaningful to the adherents is also applicable. As Geertz states in other writings, "[w]hatever, or wherever, symbol systems "in their own terms" may be, we gain empirical access to them by inspecting events, not by arranging abstracted entities into unified patterns" (Geertz 1973: 17). Note the relation of meaning to the historical aspect of events, and the distinction from Turner's view. Under this model, a member of the Greek Orthodox faith sees the history entailed in the icon and is instructed...
6 Pages(1500 words)Book Report/Review
Frederick Douglas
...wrote, "All that is necessary to be done is to make the government consistent with itself, and render the rights of the States compatible with the sacred rights of human nature" (para. 3). He was insisting that the government take a stand within each state, and remain consistent in supporting the rights of all people. He asked that citizens of the United States be able to move, interchangeably, throughout the states and have the same rights in each one. He finished his essay with the opinion that he was not the only person, nor were there only black people, who wanted equality for everyone. He wrote, "This great measure is sought as earnestly by loyal white men as by loyal blacks, and is needed alike by both. Let sound...
8 Pages(2000 words)Essay
Communication: Powerful Symbols
...Words are Powerful Symbols When scholars first tried to model communication, it was envisioned as a simple procedure of one person sending a message to another. It would literally be like the speaker filling up a syringe with his message and injecting it into the receiver who would get the meaning of the message exactly as the source or speaker intended it ("Hypodermic Needle," 2004). There would be no misunderstandings because the words in the speaker's message held consistent meaning for the receiver and they would see the same picture ("Meanings," 2007). In the olden times, mass media's power was seen this way - that it had a direct, immediate and powerful effect on its audiences as was true in the 1940s and 1950s...
4 Pages(1000 words)Essay
RITUALS&SYMBOLS
...Rituals and Symbols The service that I attended was a regular (traditional) Sunday service at a Presbyterian church. The church was in a nice neighborhood, full of classic suburban-style homes and well-kept lawns. Cars in the parking lot reflected a relatively affluent group of people although some cars were older and rusted. Most were the types of cars that are linked with suburban housewives and corporate moguls. The people who attended the church also reflected this impression. Most were of college age or older, some with small children, but I didn’t see many teenagers. Most of the people were dressed nice, but some were wearing blue jeans and nice T-shirts with tennis shoes. The overall impression was a group...
3 Pages(750 words)Essay
Mary Rowlandson captiviity narrative vs. Douglas slave narrative
...Your full and number Captivity and Slave Narratives as Political Promotion Mary White Rowlandson (1637-1711) was a colonial American woman who was captured by Native Americans during King Philip’s War and endured eleven weeks of captivity before being ransomed. After her release, she wrote a narrative of her experience, The Sovereignty and Goodness of God: Being a Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson. A second work, the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, is a memoir and treatise on abolition written by famous orator and former slave, Frederick Douglass. The latter, generally held to be the most famous and moving of a number of narratives written by former slaves, in factual detail describes... the...
8 Pages(2000 words)Research Paper
Douglas Crockford
...Douglas Crockford Douglas Crock ford, talks about the head and gut, he tries to explain how the head and gut coordinate in order the body to function. This is an example he gives to describe how computer programs are designed by people. He says computer programs are the most complicated things created by human beings. Programming is thought to be ahead; activity, but there are a lot of guts involved during the programming process. He continues and says, it may be the gut that gives us the approach for solving hard problems (Crockford p 25). He concludes by saying that gut messes us up when it comes to the matters of the style. The system which is found in our brain makes us vulnerable to advertising...
1 Pages(250 words)Essay
Fredrick Douglas
...whipping them when they are at fault, so that the slave can always be in a state of paranoid and with a constant perception that they will be castigated at any time despite their actions (ch 3). Secondly, Douglass seeks to make his readers appreciate why and how they can conquer adversity through knowledge by asserting that education is “the pathway from slavery to freedom” (Douglass ch 10). For instance, he has effectively explained why the slaves are often filled with prejudice and untruthfulness by explaining how they are under a mental darkness which is a natural reaction to the mind games played on them by their masters. This then makes the purpose of the work as an effective tool for demystifying slavery...
4 Pages(1000 words)Essay
sponsored ads
We use cookies to create the best experience for you. Keep on browsing if you are OK with that, or find out how to manage cookies.
Let us find you another Research Paper on topic MARY DOUGLAS' NATURAL SYMBOLS for FREE!
Contact Us