Belief and Ritual: The Protestant Ethic, Capitalism, and the Nation_20

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BELIEF AND RITUAL: THE PROTESTANT
ETHIC, CAPITALISM, AND THE NATION
1517
THE PROTESTANT REFORMATION
• A movement in Europe that
began with Martin Luther’s
opposition to the corruption
of Catholicism.
• Divided Christianity between
Catholicism and a number of
Protestant denominations.
• Contributed to a
sociocultural milieu in
Europe that fostered science,
technology, modern
philosophy, and capitalism.
1648
THE WESTPHALIA PEACE ACCORD
• Considered to be the
culmination of the Protestant
Reformation.
• Established national
boundaries in Europe.
• Ended the political
dominance of the Holy
Roman Empire.
• Instigated the transformation
in the political organization
of European powers from
feudal states to nation states.
CAPITALISM
• An economic system in which the means of
production--land and capital goods--are
privately owned, and the labor of workers
becomes the property of owners.
• Capital, generated for most part by the
labor of workers, is monopolized by
owners and invested for individual profit.
• Commodities and services are produced for
the sole purpose of profit in the
marketplace.
• Capitalism collapses if it does not
continually expand.
• Capitalism only functions through
inequality.
CONFLICT THEORY
• MARX: The history of the world is a history of
conflict between CLASSES:
– Those who have access to resources and establish
power over their production and distribution.
– Those who do not have access to resources.
• Societies are held together by coercive power, and
change due to escalating conflicts between the classes.
• The capitalist system is based in class inequity, and
generates disenfranchisement and alienation.
• WEBER: Systems of oppression are able to operate
because they are self legitimizing.
• In addition to socioeconomic class, status and power-”power for power’s sake”-- contributes to social
inequity.
• MACRO PERSPECTIVES
WEBER IS
CRITICAL
OF MARX’S
ECONOMIC
DETERMINISM
AND ARGUES
RELIGION
GENERATED
THE CAPITALIST
ECONOMIC
SYSTEM.
He
asked: Why was
capitalism created and
developed in Western
Europe rather than
somewhere else?
Because historical
conditions caused the
emergence of religious
values that created an
ethos conducive to
capitalism.
CALVINISM
DURING THE 1500s JOHN CALVIN
PARTICIPATED IN AND IMPACTED THE
PROTESTANT REFORMATION, AND THE
MANY BRANCHES OF “CALVINISM”
EMERGED.
CALVINIST DOCTRINE
• PREDESTINATION: God has predetermined who will go to
heaven, all others will not.
• TULIP -- The five points of Calvinism:
– Total depravity: All are born into sin.
– Unconditional election: God saves through total mercy.
– Limited atonement: Christ atoned only for the elected.
– Irresistible grace: The elected cannot resist God’s grace.
– Perseverance of the saints: The elected will never fall.
• THE CALLING: Anxious people look for signs of salvation.
– Hard work is a high moral obligation to fulfill ones duty in
worldly affairs.
– Worldly success is a sign of God’s favor.
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN ON
SAVINGS AND THRIFT
• Be industrious and frugal,
and you will be rich.
• Hope of gain lessens pain.
• Beware of little expenses,
a small leak will sink a
great ship.
• Employ thy time well, if
thou meanest to gain
leisure.
• Nothing so likely to make
a man’s fortune as virtue.
THE ETHOS OF CAPITALISM
• Frugal and thrifty
economic behavior is
virtuous and leads to
wealth.
• Wealth designates virtue.
• Weber asserts: The
ETHOS of capitalism
predates the emergence of
capitalism in the late 18th
century.
PREDESTINATION
AS THE VITAL SPARK OF CAPITALISM
• Accumulation
becomes a moral
imperative.
• The pursuit of
profit becomes
endowed with
sacred character.
WEBER’S “IRON CAGE”
• Economic activity
becomes separate from
the household.
• Cities become separate
from the country.
• People are divided by
class statuses.
• Nation states become
more homogenous,
geographically bounded,
autonomous, and selfdetermining.
A SELF-PERPETUATING AND
SELF-LEGITIMIZING SYSTEM
• RATIONALIZATION:
Positivistic organization,
including military might, to
maintain social order.
• Capitalism is fortified through
rationalization.
• Religious beliefs become
unnecessary.
• Asceticism, thrift, and capital
accumulation become secular
virtues.
• WEBER’S IRONY: The Puritan
wanted to work as a calling; we
are forced to do so.
THE MODERN NATION AND THE
IDEOLOGY OF NATIONALISM
• Nations are constructed through
social and cultural engineering.
• NATIONALISM: An ideology
that generates homogeneity,
compliance, and loyalty.
• People are convinced or coerced
into sharing a common religion,
language, ethnic membership,
and history.
• Constructions of the different,
inferior, evil, etc., “OTHER”
remain integral to the identity
formations of nationalisms.
The monopoly on legitimized
violence is essential to
constructing and maintaining the
nation.

Nations can and do eliminate or
force into submission, those who
refuse to conform, or who
demand recognition as distinct
groups.

Nations can and do wage war
on other nations for religious,
social, cultural, political, and
economic reasons.

NATIONALISM AND RELIGION
• Like religions, modern nationalisms are
“systems of belief” that share characteristics
with anthropological perspectives on
religion.
• SACRED NARRATIVES
• SYMBOLS
• ADDRESSING THE SUPERNATURAL
• SPIRITS AND SACRED POWERS
• RITUALS
NARRATIVES
Hhmmm…EVET!
Babadevlet ve
anavatan!
“I CANNOT
TELL A LIE.”
REMEMBER
THE ALAMO!
SYMBOLS
ADDRESSING THE
SUPERNATURAL
SPIRITS AND SACRED POWERS
RITUALS
US MILITARY BOOT CAMP:
A NATIONALISTIC RITE OF PASSAGE
RITES OF PASSAGE:
Public events that mark the transition of an individual or
group from one social status to another.
• Rites of Passage involve three phases:
– SEPARATION
• The person or group is detached from a former
status.
– THE LIMINAL STAGE
• A state of limbo between the former status and
the new status to come.
– REINCORPORATION
• The passage into the new status is symbolically
completed. New rights and obligations
accompany the new status.
The LIMINAL Stage
• BETWIXT AND
BETWEEN.
• Symbols of the liminal
stage often focus on
nothingness, death, and
ambiguity.
• The initiates are in a
temporary state of
solidarity called:
COMMUNITAS.



ANTI STRUCTURE: A
temporary dissolution of
the established order that
occurs during the liminal
stage.
Behaviors that violate
social norms are
permitted.
Establishes where normal
structural boundaries are
and reinforces social
norms.
“PRIVATE JOKER”
A TRICKSTER
FULL METAL JACKET – PART ONE
STUDY GUIDE FOR “PART ONE” OF
FULL METAL JACKET
• What characteristics of religion do you see in boot camp as portrayed
in the film?
• Weber asserts that the Protestant ethic is the cultural basis for
capitalism and, in part, the ideology of nationalism. These systems
become rationalized, self-legitimizing, and eventually secular. What
evidence of this theoretical logic do you see in the film?
• What characteristics of boot camp correspond with Victor Turner’s
explication of the liminal state?
• What social status are the initiates being prepared for? When
reintegrated, how will they fortify the social order of the nation state?
• In the context of communitas, what role does the drill sergeant play?
• What role does Private Joker play?
• What role does Private Pyle play?

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