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History of Anthropological Thought - Functionalism and Marxist Anthropology - Essay Example

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This paper "History of Anthropological Thought - Functionalism and Marxist Anthropology" focuses on anthropologists who have explored and considered religion and society for years. These two basics have been the focal point of various ethnographies and articles written by anthropologists.  …
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History of Anthropological Thought - Functionalism and Marxist Anthropology
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"History of Anthropological Thought - Functionalism and Marxist Anthropology"

Download file to see previous pages The word 'mangu' means 'witchcraft' and to some extent witchcraft and sorcery are alike. Both have general purposes, but their practices are different. Witchcraft was said to be a 'psychic power which often inherited, it can be activated if the owner became angry or jealous, and this power is normally unconscious as well as limited to those with the substance in their body. Sorcery is skill, which can be learnt by anyone and can be passed on through study. This skill also knows as "black magnetic" which can be defined as the evil use of medicines' (Evans-Pritchard, 1937, p.42). Both are used for destructive private ends against the lives and possessions of law-abiding people.
The centre of this book is the three oracles of the Azande in Sudan. These being in the order of decreasing significance: the poison oracle, the termite oracle, and the rubbing board oracle. Amongst the Azande, witchcraft is viewed as the main hazard. They are sure that witchcraft can be inherited and that a person can be a mage, making others harm, without understanding her or his impact.
Anthropologists have had the long disagreement concerning the nature and importance of beliefs in witchcraft and magic and, in particular, concerning the rationality of the witchcraft beliefs. Evans-Prichard underlines that they are rational since they are very utilitarian an, they are the mighty mechanism of the social top of a hierarchy. Evans-Pritchard provides a sociological model of such beliefs, he proves that they are what the chief needs to maintain submission and keep people in constant fear. That is the importance of such beliefs for the whole community; without them, the structure if the community itself will be destroyed, and a community would parish to the extent of values and culture. In addition, beliefs are important since they explain to them many things and give the image of the person who is 'omnipotent' and who can help in any trouble as well as make a great harm.         ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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