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Totemism

Page history last edited by Linnea 15 years, 4 months ago

Totemism is a process and method of social organization in which groups adopt an aspect of nature as their specific totem or sign. Totems are considered sacred, but are not the only items within nature to be adopted by clans. Totemic societies classify everything within the cosmology, everything within the universe and divide these things among the clan. Other animals, plants, or natural occurences that are adopted by the clans are treated with special care and rituals, though they are not as important as the totem. Many anthropologists have debated the origins and purposes of totems and totemic societies. Durkhiem took a structural-functionalist approach to totemism, saying that totemism was a projection of society onto nature and was a helped to create social solidarity. Levi-Strauss considered totemism from a structuralist angle, completely contrary to Durkheim's belief, and thought that totemism was a reflection of nature onto society and that it did not have anything to do with societal structures. Along this spectrum of thought, many have theorized, but the topic of totemism has become a less popular topic in more recent times.

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