What is human sociality? How are universals such as truth and doubt variously demonstrated and negotiated in different cultures?
This book offers an accessible introduction to these and other fundamental human questions. Bloch shows that the social consists of two very different things. One is a matter of continual adjustments between individuals who read each others’ minds and thus, as in sex and birth, “go in and out of each other’s minds and bodies.” The other is a time defying system of roles and groups. Interaction at this level is created by ritual and is unique to humans. What is referred to by the word “religion” is a part of this, but it is not separate. The study of “religion” as such is therefore theoretically misleading.
A second major theme is the way truth is established in different cultures. Bloch’s arguments go against recent approaches in anthropology which have sought to relativize.
1 Durkheimian Anthropology and Religion: Going In and Out of Each Other’s Bodies
2 Why Religion Is Nothing Special but Is Central
3 Truth and Sight: Generalizing without Universalizing
4 Teknonymy and the Evocation of the “Social” among the Zafimaniry of Madagascar
5 Is There Religion in Çatalhöyük or Just Houses?
6 Types of Shared Doubt in the Flow of a Discussion
7 Toward a Cognitive Anthropology Grounded in Field Work: The Example of “Theory of Mind”
8 Lévi-Strauss as an Evolutionary Anthropologist
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