Natural Symbols: Explorations in Cosmology

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Psychology Press, 1996 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 183 pages
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Every natural symbol - derived from blood, breath or excrement - carries a social meaning and this work focuses on the ways in which any one culture makes its selections from body symbolism. Each person treats their body as an image of society and the author examines the varieties of ritual and symbolic expression and the patterns of social ritual in which they are embodied.
Natural Symbols is a book about religion and it concerns our own society at least as much as any other. It has stimulated new insights into religious and political movements and has provoked re-appraisals of current progressive orthodoxies in many fields. As a classic, it represents a work of anthropology in its widest sense, exploring themes such as the social meaning of natural symbols and the image of the body in society which are now very much in vogue in anthropology, sociology and cultural studies.
In this reissue and with a new Introduction, Natural Symbols will continue to appeal to all students of anthropology, sociology and religion.

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Review: Natural Symbols: Explorations in Cosmology

User Review  - Yang - Goodreads

Durkheimian analyses of symbolic orders by showing their concordance with the forms of social orders. Read full review

Review: Natural Symbols: Explorations in Cosmology

User Review  - Jessica Zu - Goodreads

maybe we should ban religious studies scholars from playing mathematicians. Read full review


Away from ritual
To inner experience
The Bog Irish
Grid and group
The two bodies
Test cases
The problem of evil
Impersonal rules
Control of symbols
Out of the cave

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About the author (1996)

Mary Douglas is a distinguished international anthropologist. She retired as professor of Anthropology at University College London in 1977, and taught in America until 1988. Her books include Purity and Danger (1966), Essays in the Sociology of Perception (1982), How Institutions Think (1986) and Risk and Blame (1992)

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