Purity and Danger: An Analysis of Concept of Pollution and Taboo

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Psychology Press, 1966 - Social Science - 244 pages
3 Reviews
In Purity and Danger Mary Douglas identifies the concern for purity as a key theme at the heart of every society. In lively and lucid prose she explains its relevance for every reader by revealing its wide-ranging impact on our attitudes to society, values, cosmology and knowledge. The book has been hugely influential in many areas of debate - from religion to social theory. But perhaps its most important role is to offer each reader a new explanation of why people behave in the way they do. With a specially commissioned introduction by the author which assesses the continuing significance of the work thirty-five years on, this Routledge Classics edition will ensure that Purity and Danger continues to challenge and question well into the new millennium.
 

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User Review  - thcson - LibraryThing

This may be an entertaining book if you want to read stories of foreign cultures and habits, but I don't think it meets the scientific standards of anthropology. The subtitle of the book is "an ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - hrissliss - LibraryThing

Written by a social anthropologist, this work studies the way in which religions structure 'pollution' and sacred influences. She analyzes how religions not only create laws, but how those laws have ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
Ritual Uncleanness
8
Secular Defilement
36
The Abominations of Leviticus
51
Magic and Miracle
72
Primitive and Dangers
91
Powers and Dangers
117
External Boundaries
141
Internal Lines
160
The System at War with Itself
173
The System Shattered and Renewed
196
BIBLIOGRAPHY
221
INDEX
227
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About the author (1966)

Mary Douglas (1921-). One of the most distinguished anthropologists of modern times. Natural Symbols, another of her major works, is also available in Routledge Classics.

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