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Chapter 0: Introduction to sociology 2e

Preface Read Online

About openstax

OpenStax is a non-profit organization committed to improving student access to quality learning materials. Our free textbooks are developed and peer-reviewed by educators to ensure they are readable, accurate, and meet the scope and sequence requirements of modern college courses. Unlike traditional textbooks, OpenStax resources live online and are owned by the community of educators using them. Through our partnerships with companies and foundations committed to reducing costs for students, OpenStax is working to improve access to higher education for all. OpenStax is an initiative of Rice University and is made possible through the generous support of several philanthropic foundations.

About this book

Welcome to Introduction to Sociology 2e , an OpenStax resource created with several goals in mind: accessibility, affordability, customization, and student engagement—all while encouraging learners toward high levels of learning. Instructors and students alike will find that this textbook offers a strong foundation in sociology. It is available for free online and in low-cost print and e-book editions.

To broaden access and encourage community curation, Introduction to Sociology 2e is “open source” licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license. Everyone is invited to submit examples, emerging research, and other feedback to enhance and strengthen the material and keep it current and relevant for today’s students. You can make suggestions by contacting us at

To the student

This book is written for you and is based on the teaching and research experience of numerous sociologists. In today’s global socially networked world, the topic of sociology is more relevant than ever before. We hope that through this book, you will learn how simple, everyday human actions and interactions can change the world. In this book, you will find applications of sociology concepts that are relevant, current, and balanced.

To the instructor

This text is intended for a one-semester introductory course. Since current events influence our social perspectives and the field of sociology in general, OpenStax encourages instructors to keep this book fresh by sending in your up-to-date examples to so that students and instructors around the country can relate and engage in fruitful discussions.

General approach

Introduction to Sociology 2e adheres to the scope and sequence of a typical introductory sociology course. In addition to comprehensive coverage of core concepts, foundational scholars, and emerging theories we have incorporated section reviews with engaging questions, discussions that help students apply the sociological imagination, and features that draw learners into the discipline in meaningful ways. Although this text can be modified and reorganized to suit your needs, the standard version is organized so that topics are introduced conceptually, with relevant, everyday experiences.

Changes to the second edition

Part of the mission of the second edition update was to ensure the research, examples and concepts used in this textbook are current and relevant to today’s student. To this end, we have rewritten the introduction of each chapter to reflect the latest developments in sociology, history and global culture. In addition to new graphs and images, the reader of the second edition will find new feature boxes on a diverse array of topics, which has been one of the goals of the update—bringing the world into greater focus through case studies on global culture.

In this assignment you will learn about the difficulties that surround attempts to define religion in a way that is cross-culturally valid.

You will become familiar with some of the diversity of human religious beliefs and will gain insight into the fact that religious beliefs may have adaptive benefits for their culture.

You will learn about the role of feelings in religion and how feelings and beliefs are related to religious rituals.

You will learn about the common types of religious specialists and about different ways that religious groups are organized.

Finally, you will learn about the psychological functions of religion and about the characteristics of religious thinking.

Assignment PDF eBook: 
Chapter 6: Anthropology Religion and Culture
Download #6 Religion & Culture Assignment PDF eBook
50 Pages
English US
Educational Materials

Sample Questions from the Chapter 6: Anthropology Religion and Culture Assignment

Question: According to Emile Durkheim, the basis of religious ideas is to fulfill the need to _______________.


explain natural features of the environment.

give symbolic expression to fears and anxieties.

create symbols that evoke feelings of respect, fear, and awe towards important social institutions and customs.

control important aspects of their environment.

Question: Religious ideology is so extremely diverse in the cultures of the world because it:


has no practical considerations that limit variation in other aspects of culture.

is less influenced by the practical considerations that limit variation in other aspects of culture.

is an arbitrary creation of the human mind.

has no relationship to the real world.

Question: Syncretism is _______________.


a form of worship.

a magical ritual performed to bring groups into harmony.

the belief in gods who are uninterested in human affairs.

the borrowing of beliefs and rituals by one religion from another.

Question: According to research by Guy Swanson, monotheism is most likely to be found in those societies that:


depend on foraging for foods.

are isolated from other societies.

have no complex descent systems such as clans and lineages.

organize the sovereign decision-making groups into at least three levels.

Question: the innate ability to influence supernatural forces, usually to operate in ways that are harmful to others, without the necessity of using rituals















Law of Similarity

Law of Contagion


disease object

spirit possession



revitalization movement

Question: The two principles of magic wherever it is found are:


The law of mana and the law of taboo.

The law of contagion and the law of imitation.

The law of contagion and the law of taboo.

The law of imitation and the law of mana.

Question: Which religious organization is the simplest and possibly the oldest?


shamanic religion

communal religion

ecclesiastical religion of the Olympian type

ecclesiastical religion of the monotheistic type

Question: Which of the following is NOT true of the Hindu belief in the sacredness of the zebu cow?


It was written into the Indian constitution.

It has been the cause of much hunger in India.

It is the source of the English phrase “sacred cow.”

Cows wander the streets without being molested or killed.

Question: The belief that illness is caused by loss of one’s soul is most common where socialization stresses:


independence, assertiveness, and the use of power to gain high status.

passivity, helpfulness, and docility.

the importance of community.

the importance of family.

Question: Which of the following is NOT part of Victor Turner’s concept of the period of communities?


the separation period

the liminal period

the “mystery of intimacy”

the importance of hierarchy

Question: According to Tylor, the main function of religion was to help people.


answer perplexing questions, such as what causes unconsciousness, dreams, and death.

feel more secure by giving them comfort.

control their anxieties by providing rituals which distract them from their worries.

control their anxieties by providing rituals which given them a feeling of control.

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Source:  Prof. Richley Crapo, Cultural Anthropology. (Utah State University), (Accessed 28 Mar, 2014). License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA
Brooke Delaney
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Rylee Minllic
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