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Natural Symbols

Explorations in Cosmology

Genres: Sociology
Format: Hardback
Publisher: Vintage, London, United Kingdom
Imprint: Barrie & Jenkins
Published: 31st Mar 1970
Dimensions: w 140mm h 220mm
ISBN-10: 0214650758
ISBN-13: 9780214650758
Barcode No: 9780214650758

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Kirkus US
In an earlier work, Dr. Douglas argued, from the analysis of jokes, that there is a basic human drive to achieve consonance in all layers of experience. In this equally ingenious book, she demonstrates that there exists a complementary tendency to represent, or replicate, one's social situation in symbolic form by making use of bodily symbols (the "natural symbols" of the title) in every possible dimension. Within this context, religious experience, as a symbolic replication, becomes an integral part of human experience - an expression of one aspect of human existence rather than a reaction to it. The author supports her thesis by the analysis of divergent cultures - the Nuer and Dinka, the Anuak, the "bog-Irish," the contemporary Christian, and so forth - in a display of anthropological and sociological methodology which is as impressive as it is persuasive. A highly original work, as valuable for the theologian and religious philosopher as for the social scientist, which will at least disconcert if not dissuade the disciples of Susan K. Langer. (Kirkus Reviews)