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Title: Cultural rituals as by-products of precaution system
Author: Fux, Michal
ISNI:       0000 0004 2741 8618
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2012
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In my current evolutionary anthropological research I have collected data about cultural rituals that might support the theory concerning the role of precautionary mechanisms in transmitting and shaping religious/cultural rituals. The research was conducted in South Africa, and more specifically with the amaZulu people in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, many of whom are still relying on oral transmission of their practices and are also living in a conflict area. The data collection employed two methods. First, a questionnaire regarding people's inferences about the outcome of failing to perform each of the life-stage rituals, which are at the center of the Zulu life cycle. Second, a method borrowed from economics and social psychology called 'Budget-Allocation', which elicits subjects' implicit judgements about the salience of potential threat domains. These two sets of collected data were specifically chosen because they could be integrated for the purpose of testing whether a correlation between salient potential-threat domains and inferences about the effect of performance of the religious rituals. This study has established that precautionary themes are strongly prevalent (over 90% in average) in Zulu rituals and that there is a correlation between the extent to which people were preoccupied with the different potential-threat domains and the extent to which those domains were mentioned in regard to their religious rituals. These results support previous theoretical work on the relationship between precautionary cognitive mechanisms and religious rituals and provides a springboard for future studies meant to attain an understanding of the connection between precaution systems and cultural rituals as well as the types of mechanisms complicit (aside from memory etc) in the cultural transmission of these forms across generations.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available