Full Text

Totem


Subject Religion

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631181392.1995.x


Extract

[ xxxiv ] An animal or plant species, or other natural phenomenon, regarded as specifically related to the origin, welfare and/or organization of a human (usually descent) group [43: 58–60, 199]. The Ojibwa (A lgonquin tribe, North America) word provides the technical term ‘totemism’ for a belief system involving, e.g., T abu and increase rites, and some idea of descent from a mythical totemic ancestor (e.g. among Australian tribes) [58: 85–6]. Among the many theories of totemism [158: 48; 183: 113–14], its symbolic function in social cohesion was stressed by Durkheim [48; 58: 231; 158: 30; 183: 55–6]. In contrast, S tructuralists like Lévi-Strauss [105; 109; 158: 48] emphasize the role of distinctive and ambivalent totem-concepts in the communication of meaning. ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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