1st Edition

An Analysis of Mary Douglas's Purity and Danger
An Analysis of the Concepts of Pollution and Taboo





ISBN 9781912284634
Published February 18, 2018 by Macat Library
127 Pages

USD $8.95

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Book Description

Mary Douglas is an outstanding example of an evaluative thinker at work. In Purity and Danger: An Analysis of Concepts of Pollution and Taboo, she delves in great detail into existing arguments that portray traditional societies as “evolving” from “savage” beliefs in magic, to religion, to modern science, then explains why she believes those arguments are wrong. She also adeptly chaperones readers through a vast amount of data, from firsthand research in the Congo to close readings of the Old Testament, and analyzes it in depth to provide evidence that traditional and Western religions have more in common than the first comparative religion scholars and early anthropologists thought.

First evaluating her scholarly predecessors by marshalling their arguments, Douglas identifies their main weakness: that they dismiss traditional societies and their religions by identifying their practices as “magic,” thereby creating a chasm between savages who believe in magic and sophisticates who practice religion.

Table of Contents

Ways in to the Text 

Who Was Mary Douglas? 

What Does Purity and Danger Say? 

Why Does Purity and Danger Matter? 

Section 1: Influences 

Module 1: The Author and the historical Context 

Module 2: Academic Context 

Module 3: The Problem 

Module 4: The Author's Contribution 

Section 2: Ideas 

Module 5: Main Ideas 

Module 6: Secondary Ideas 

Module 7: Achievement 

Module 8: Place in the Author's Work 

Section 3: Impact 

Module 9: The First Responses  

Module 10: The Evolving Debate 

Module 11: Impact and Influence Today  

Module 12: Where Next? 

Glossary of Terms  

People Mentioned in the Text  

Works Cited

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Author(s)

Biography

Pádraig Belton undertook his doctoral research in politics and international relations at the University of Oxford. A prolific financia, business and political journalist, his work has appeared in publications including the Irish Times, the Guardian, Telegraph, Independent, the Irish Independent, the Atlantic, the New Statesman, Prospect, the Times Literary Supplement, and Foreign Policy.