Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Ancestor Worship

  • Kyle J. ClarkEmail author
  • Craig T. Palmer
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_3085-1

Synonyms

Definition

The communicated acceptance of the supernatural claim that dead ancestors influence, and/or are influenced by, their living descendants and, more loosely, the rituals associated with such claims.

Introduction

Anthropologists studying traditional kinship-based cultures have frequently, and perhaps universally (Steadman et al. 1996), encountered the claim that dead ancestors (i.e., deceased progenitors) can still influence, and/or be influenced by, their living descendants. In such cultures, generation after generation of descendants not only communicates their acceptance of such claims, but they participate in traditional forms of sacrifice and other rituals to demonstrate their veneration of their dead ancestors and their willingness to accept the influence of those ancestors by following the traditional patterns of behavior they proscribed. This activity is typically labeled ancestor worship, and it...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Catherine Salmon
    • 1
  1. 1.University of RedlandsRedlandsUSA