Purity and Danger: An Analysis of Concepts of Pollution and Taboo - Chapter 5 Summary & Analysis

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Chapter 5 Summary and Analysis

Social pollution differs in relation to cosmic pollution. Different points of view on what is pollution stem from differences between modern and primitive cultures. Ritual pollution needs to be understood in the context of the way pollution is understood by primitive cultures and the reason why it is pollution-prone. The effects of pollution involve religious offense. One of the distinctions between primitive and modern culture relates to observing taboo. Primitive people have been regarded to display different behavior from ours in being concerned more with immediate matters and hence unable to engage in deeper contemplation. Such approach led to the belief that primitive cultures are inferior.

Comparing cultures involved standardized assumptions, where individual attitudes have been ignored. Perceiving primitive cultures in terms of social phenomena with common patterns of thought involving social institutions led to difficulties in distinguishing differences in such...

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