Anthropology of Death Research Assignment Paper (Essay Sample)
From the given options please select TWO questions to answer. Please indicate which question you are answering and use the assigned readings and any lecture material we have discussed or watched to answer the questions. Each answer should be approximately 2-3 pages long (5 pages maximum). The answers are due October 27th at the start of class (7:00PM). Please use Times New Roman size 12 font and double-space your answers. A title page is not needed, but please ensure your full name is indicated at the top of the exam. Proper citation must be done if you are quoting or paraphrasing work other than your own. Please see UR Courses for citation help. For lecture material just indicate, (LN, date of lecture and 2016) and for the films, (Title of the film, 2016). Late submissions will not be accepted so please ensure you have your answers UPLOADED at the start of the class on October 27th (7:00PM).
I have given you two of the questions to answer.
2.What are the sacred and the profane? Can an item be both sacred and profane at the same time? In funerals, what items could be consider sacred? What evidence do we have of their ‘sacred’ quality (i.e., what characteristics do the items take on)? What role do rites have in relation to the sacred and the profane? What aspects of death was Durkheim interested in and how was his approach similar or different from Malinowski’s belief in the function of mortality rites?
6.What are the definitions of euthanasia and assisted dying? What types of euthanasia are there? What are the moral and social issues with the differences between the definitions (euthanasia and assisted dying) and the types (euthanasia)? Do you think that resistance to stems from a natural fear of death or is it coming from social and cultural concerns. Please explain and support your answer with readings.
Anthropology of Death
Anthropology of Death
The profane according to Durkheim are those things that are ordinary and include the mundane concerns such as bills and jobs. On the other hand, the sacred are the items that people hold as extraordinary and inspire reverence or induce fear. These entail the things that transcend the daily existence, and communities or groups set them apart such as rituals, beliefs, and religion (Longhofer & Winchester, 2012). The distinction between the two illustrates that no item can be sacred and profane in the same context. However, an item can be profane in one society while in another it can be sacred and vice versa. For instance, in the modern times, many things that were considered sacred previously are now taken as profane.
The traditions during funerals vary from one region to another, and from one religion to another. In burials, some of the things that can be taken as sacred include the washing of the bodies and clothing them as per the beliefs of a community. The act is sacred because most groups believe that dressing them in a particular way determines their status in their afterlife. Also, the use of the cross, lights, holy water, and incense in the Catholic religion during the funeral service is also sacred. The use of these things symbolizes the cleansing and purification of the dead person and are held with respect. Additionally, most burial sessions involve some form of sermon and prayer. The prayers allow the communication with a supernatural being that the group worships. Also, some people place a symbolic cross on the coffin as a ritual trusting that this will chase away evil spirits. In other societies, cremation of the body is a sacred role that aims to release the soul from the body to immortality. For instance, the Balinese consider cremation as a renewal and purification journey for the departed soul (Mydans, 2008).
The rituals play a critical role in both the sacred and profane activities. These rites help in setting apart, both space and time as sacred. The rituals can be used to transform the profane to sacred through the recreation of some past event. For example, Christians partaking the Eucharist is a ritual that connects them to the last supper and recreates the occurrence making it sacred. Additionally, rituals play the duty of making an environment sacred. For instance, the rites done in worship houses or a shrine sets the places apart from the profane.
Durkheim in his suicide theories provided an avenue for further discussions concerning death. Durkheim focused on how religion assists the community or individuals to deal with death. Durkheim believed that the death rituals were utilized to ensure the survival of the dead and served to preserve social functioning. Durkheim viewed the society as a functional system made up of several subsystems held by beliefs, rituals or values. Malinowski utilizes a similar approach in analyzing how communities perceive and deal with death. However, he presents a different view concerning the role of the funeral rites. According to Malinowski, mortality rituals were meant to resolve disruptive tendencies that could arise ...
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