She follows Emile Durkheim in defining dirt as that which is out of its place (ketchup in fine in the bottle or on the plate, but not on my shirt). There are sections which are all citation, where no idea is really developed, and then there are sections filled with assertions and assumptions that demand significantly more citation and justification. A good look at literary defamiliarization -. Gabrys and other waste theorists turn to Douglas as a starting point for thinking about the relationship between dirt and systems and then variously amend her conclusions and criticize her methods. In lively and lucid prose she explains its relevance for every reader by revealing its wide-ranging impact on our attitudes to society, values, cosmology and knowledge. looking at the familiar process of spring cleaning in unfamiliar terms as a secular ritual). Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. A great account of human nature. It also highlights a broad swath of examples from various cultures and religions. But it is impossible to have social relations without symbolic acts.”, “It is the existence of an angry person in an interstitial position which is dangerous, and this has nothing to do with the particular intentions of the person.”, TLS The Hundred Most Influential Books Since the Second World War, Mariah Carey Is Telling Her Own Story (and Recommending Books). Good read for a slow shift at work with citation potential ala hypothetical students of [hermeneutical] suspicion(s). outdated, problematic methodology for an anthropological study, but faults acknowledged by the author in the foreword to the new edition. Wit. Not only does Douglas highlight the logic inherent in all kinds of cultural systems, she shows that moderns are just as prone to developing such systems as pre-moderns. Please read and accept the terms and conditions and check the box to generate a sharing link. Access to society journal content varies across our titles. Readable, with occasional humorous comments from the author. New login is not successful because the max limit of logins for this user account has been reached. Professor Douglas makes points which illuminate matters in the philosophy of religion and the philosophy of science and help to show the rest of us just why and how anthropology has become a fundamentally intellectual discipline. But perhaps its most important role … Interesting concepts of the interplay between the taboo and the holy, morality and cleanliness, purity and danger; how societies frame their worlds. Refresh and try again. In other words - pure analytical win. "Taxonomy and Taboo"; Frazer is out, but Freud is in. Douglas argues that many of the taboos regarding "polluted" or unclean objects in various societies have more to do with moral and symbolic impurity rather than actual hygiene. By the time the book ends, with a discussion of the sacred. But perhaps its most important role is to offer each reader a new explanation of why people behave in the way they do. I mean, what does one really say about a classic of structuralist anthropology? A very academic read. The book has been hugely influential in many areas of debate - from religion to social theory. Alas, the ideas within were not transferable in any meaningful manner I could make out. Social rituals create a reality which would be nothing without them. To see what your friends thought of this book, Purity and Danger: An Analysis of Concepts of Pollution and Taboo, This book is, of course, a classic. In Purity and Danger Mary Douglas identifies the concern for purity as a key theme at the heart of every society. I originally started this book to learn more about fascist purity politics, but instead got an impassioned critique of early modernist anthropology — particularly James George Frazer, the author of the Golden Bough. One can see in Douglas later shifts toward more imaginative writing in Anthropology. By the time the book ends, with a discussion of the sacred and the dirty, one has gained much wisdom and theory about the subject. For more information view the SAGE Journals Article Sharing page. The imprint of structural linguistics on this one is so fresh that at times it almost seems like a quaint historical document more than anything else. Gabrys represents Douglas as attentive to dirt as marking the boundaries of systems then presents as Serres as a necessary innovation in this thinking: “We cannot know systems without their dirt, he suggests” (670). In Purity and Danger Mary Douglas identifies the concern for purity as a key theme at the heart of every society. The language in this book is dated, but the information and subject of study - dirt and pollution - remains useful, even if just historically. I can see why Purity and Danger is claimed as a classic for cultural anthropology but I found this a bit too repetitive and outdated to my taste. The email address and/or password entered does not match our records, please check and try again. These might be useful categories in understanding the nature and stakes of this struggle.That's my argument, anyway, for coming back to this text. by Routledge, Purity and Danger: An Analysis of the Concepts of Pollution and Taboo. But--Douglas’ other contribution is her emphasis on rituals of cleansing and polluting as both having a materialist (medical-materialist) and social-symbolic grounding (35) such that these acts work upon the viscous honey-snot anomaly (dirt) in ways that include but also surpass marking the boundaries of a system. Contact us if you experience any difficulty logging in. Simply select your manager software from the list below and click on download. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. The e-mail addresses that you supply to use this service will not be used for any other purpose without your consent. Simply select your manager software from the list below and click on download. Some society journals require you to create a personal profile, then activate your society account, You are adding the following journals to your email alerts, Did you struggle to get access to this article? The book has been hugely influential in many areas of debate - from religion to social theory. If you have access to a journal via a society or association membership, please browse to your society journal, select an article to view, and follow the instructions in this box. Douglas uses the term "primitive" too liberally to describe all the communities that aren't as skilled with technology as Western cultures. It is an anthro classic about the meaning of purity and pollution. Brilliant, Mary Douglas is one of the best, wish more people would read this. “Without the letters of condolence, telegrams of congratulations, and occasional postcards, the friendship of a separated friend is not a social reality. Many of the concepts fascinating, and I look forward to looking at it again. Create a link to share a read only version of this article with your colleagues and friends. Partly really good and interesting, partly not so much. Readable, with occasional humorous comments from the author. Revisiting Biblical Purity Constructions, Journal for the Study of the Old Testament. Purity and Danger, first published in 1966, justly deserves its place as a classic, and the. Douglas’ work is yet another recommendation from Dr. J, who read it when she was 16, it is an old publication associating purity with secular manifestations (primarily dietary restrictions). We’d love your help. Find out about Lean Library here, If you have access to journal via a society or associations, read the instructions below. For it is very possible to know something and then find words for it. Gabrys and other waste theorists turn to Douglas as a starting point for thinking about the relationship between dirt and systems and then variously amend her conclusions and criticize her methods. In Purity and Danger Mary Douglas identifies the concern for purity as a key theme at the heart of every society. I just gave this a quick read-through this time, to get a general overview. Great for getting discussions going @ uni lectures. Two thumbs up! Login failed. I have read and accept the terms and conditions, View permissions information for this article, Click the button below for the full-text content, 24 hours online access to download content. Some faults in methodology (Chapter 3, ‘The Abominations of Leviticus’), but these are acknowledged in the foreword to the 2002 edition (underlining the need to read around the work itself when approaching theses that can be considered classics). Book Review: Purity and Danger. Welcome back. How do we learn to live with some filth and yet recoil at other dirt? Lean Library can solve it. With all the inherent limitations of the field and the fact that quite a bit of this is dated, it's still a good start at thinking of purity independent of hygiene, morality, and the other ways modernists have tried to make sense of expurgation rituals. Mary Douglas criticises and debunks the claims of Robertson-Smith and Sir James Frazer that so-called primitive cultures were, collectively and individually, unable to distinguish between the 'sacred and the profane'.

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