Cosmology I: Religion, Magic and Mythology

  • Joy Hendry


Until the last chapter, we were looking rather broadly at the way in which anthropologists observe and make sense of particular societies, the way they try to understand systems of classification and value, and the social relationships into which they enter. In Chapter 6 we began to look at contested ideas about objects and their meaning. It was mentioned at the outset of this book that another important task for anthropologists is the translation back of their findings into their own language and their own system of categories. This is what makes it possible to compare their findings with those of people working elsewhere, or, at least, to present a description capable of comparison with those produced elsewhere.


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  1. Durkheim, Emile (1915) The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life, trans. J. W. Swain (London: George Allen & Unwin).Google Scholar
  2. Evans-Pritchard, E. E. (1965) Theories of Primitive Religion (Oxford: Clarendon).Google Scholar
  3. Frazer, Sir James George (1922) The Golden Bough; A Study in Magic and Religion, abridged edn (London: Macmillan).Google Scholar
  4. Gombrich, Richard (1971) Precept and Practice: Traditional Buddhism in the Rural Highlands of Ceylon (Oxford: Clarendon).Google Scholar
  5. Leach, Edmund (1969) ‘Genesis as Myth’, in Genesis as Myth and other Essays (London: Cape).Google Scholar
  6. Lévi-Strauss, Claude (1963) ‘The Structural Study of Myth’, in Structural Anthropology (Harmondsworth: Penguin).Google Scholar
  7. Malinowski, Bronislaw (1974) Magic, Science and Religion (London: Free Press).Google Scholar
  8. Middleton, John (1960) Lugbara Religion: Ritual and Authority among an East African People (London: Oxford University Press for the International African Institute).Google Scholar
  9. Ohnuki-Tierney, Emiko (1984) Illness and Culture in Contemporary Japan (Cambridge University Press).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Radcliffe-Brown, A. R. (1964) The Andaman Islanders (New York: Free Press)Google Scholar
  11. Reader, Ian (1996) A Poisonous Cocktail: Aum Shinrikyo’s Path to Violence (Copenhagen: Nordic Institute for Asian Studies).Google Scholar
  12. Tylor, Edward B. (1913) Primitive Culture, Vol. 2, (London: John Murray)Google Scholar
  13. Worsley, Peter (1970) The Trumpet Shall Sound: A Study ofCargoCults in Melanesia (London: Paladin).Google Scholar

Further Reading

  1. Burridge, Kenelm (1960) Mambu: A Melanesian Millennium (London: Methuen).Google Scholar
  2. Lévi-Strauss, Claude (1967) ‘The Myth of Asdiwal’, in Edmund Leach (ed.),The Structural Study of Myth and Totemism (London: Tavistock).Google Scholar
  3. Lindstrom, Lamont (1993) Cargo Cult: Strange Stories of Desire from Melanesia and Beyond (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press).Google Scholar
  4. Morris, Brian (1987) Anthropological Studies of Religion: An Introductory Text (Cambridge University Press).Google Scholar
  5. Tambiah, Stanley Jeyaraja (1990) Magic, science, religion, and the scope of rationality (Cambridge University Press).Google Scholar


  1. Endo, Shusaku, Silence (London: Peter Owen, 1976), tells the story of two European missionaries whose less than successful work in Japan finds them seeking some sign from God that their work is not in vain.Google Scholar
  2. Hellerman, Tony, Sacred Clowns (Harmondsworth: Penguin 1993) is a murder mystery involving two native American detectives and a sacred festival.Google Scholar
  3. Trollope, Joanna, The Choir (London: Black Swan, 1992) takes the reader into a fictional world of politics, scandal and social relations in a Church of England community.Google Scholar


  1. The Dervishes of Kurdistan (Brian Moser, André Singer and Ali Bulookbashi, 1973) illustrates some of the extraordinary feats people with strong faith are able to perform.Google Scholar
  2. The Kalasha: Rites of Spring (John Sheppard and Peter Parkes, 1990) is another very good ‘Disappearing World’ film about a minority people living in the mountains of Pakistan who resist the surrounding Islamic influence.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Joy Hendry 1999

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  • Joy Hendry

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