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Some concluding thoughts
Religion in a complex world
• Encounter ACROSS cultural
and religious difference
– Movement of ideas, people,
symbols around the world
– Urban living = many people
with different practices,
beliefs and identities
– Anthropology concerned
with religion as a SOCIAL
phenomenon
Interaction and conversion
• How does authority regulate religious
interaction?
• How is authority recognized within religions
themselves?
– Questions of conversion and identity
– Has implications for public and civic identity, not
just a personal matter
Old religions/new contexts
• Integration of belief and practice systems in
unfamiliar settings
Putting religion BACK into social
life/activism
• Ecology monks
Religion remains important
• Look at RITUALS and SYMBOLS for keys to the
presence of “the religious”
• Answering WHY questions
• Giving people something to do/purpose to life
• Because it deals with power, religion cannot
help but be political in some sense