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The Firm and the Formless: Religion and Identity in Aboriginal Australia (Religion and Identity : Social-Scientific Studies in Religion, 2)

Mol, Hans

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ISBN 10: 088920117X / ISBN 13: 9780889201170
Published by Wilfrid Laurier University Press, U.S.A., 1982
Used Condition: Very Good Hardcover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Firm and the Formless: Religion and ...

Publisher: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 1982

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition:Very Good

Dust Jacket Condition: No Jacket

About this title


This volume is woven around the idea that wholeness (the firm) and fragmentation (risking formlessness) alternate in human affairs. This theme is applied to the history and the present condition of Australian Aboriginals. Their religion is seen as a way to bolster a precarious identity and to affirm order in an existence which would otherwise become formless. It deals with totemism as a form of ordering a variety of often conflicting identities. The author describes the modern predicament of Aborigines in Australian society and concludes that their revitalization will occur only when they manage to make economic self-sufficiency subordinate to a viable and firm view of existence. He critically integrates into his analyses and interpretations the positions of such well-known scholars as Frazer, Durkheim, Freud, LÚvi-Strauss, Radcliffe-Brown, Eliade, and Stanner. The volume will be of interest to students of sociology, anthropology, and religion.

About the Author:

Hans J. Mol holds the Ph.D. degree in sociology from Columbia University, New York. He has held academic positions in New Zealand and Australia and is now professor in the Religious Studies Department of McMaster University. His best–known books are Religion in Australia, Western Religion, and Identity and the Sacred.

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