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Asad, Tadal. Genealagies Oe & Peligion: Viseagl ine £ Es, Peagans of of Power mw ChorigRanity ane| “ol Lal 4 Law Yaltimeve, MD. Juans bgtin> Univ. Press, (14 1 0h THE CONSTRUCTION OF RELIGION AS AN ANTHROPOLOGICAL caTEGORY In much nineteath-century evolutionary thought, religion was considered to bean ety human condition from which modera law, science, and polities emerged and became detached. In thi centory| ‘most anthropolog’sts have abandoned Victorian evolutionary ideas, sae any have challenged the eationalis notion that religion issimply 2 primitive and therefore outmoded form of the istttions we now eeounter in ese form (av, polite, scence) in modern if For these twentieth-century anthropoiogs, religion is not an archaic ‘mode of cientie thinking, nor of anyother secular endewce we ale today itis, on the contrary, a distinctive space of human practice and belt which cannot be reduced fo any otber. From this seems 10 fallow that he exence of religion is at to Be confused with, sy the ‘wince of politic although in many societies the wo may OvrAp sau be intertwined, Ina characteristcally subtle passage, Louis Dumont has told us that medieval Chrtendom war one such compost society Ill take it for grad hat change in elation entail achangein whatever seed. If throughour ou hon ligion har developed {to lege exten, with ome otherinfluencer ply) a even soil values an has given bith by aciipariy, a i were 30 2" tonomous word of poll inattwtons and speculation, then sey religion il wil have changed in ee proces. Of some important mn Cte nga tien eh ae ‘Shao meee 8 GENEALOGIES ant vile change we mall ar, bat, Lub we arnt sare fhe chang inte very rte of elgon sed by ay Bren inva stoi Everyone know lien woes mater of he groups os become amas fe in Fringe, dim praia as many events and sa ‘lon Bcifwegon osmere thar this chage coated with he tit of he modern Sa she proportion no sch scan Ssihepreion one Lerwepos efor: medical pion Cinageaccsk-tomhintngatne Macey ot ey ‘nc remem indi a on albembrang pe Sn became one song ocr apparent el comrsns of Sichk pica bor. Eating nyo I prtapeeven wil cote gon or piloxophyy he ne Miembraingcomidersion iwete beady Yeon hello {ocuteoneni oricloy these peon wll with ta ier ne coniguion of wei wich atonal lions, polis) aescingy apnea ch rinse Tapendia soy 7m emphnsa i erga According to this view, medieval religion, pervading or encompassing, other categories, is nevertheless analy identifiable. Tis this fact thar makes posible to sy that lion has the sme exence today a+ iehad inthe Middle Ages, ithough is scil extension and function ‘were differen in the ewo epochs, Yer the insistence that eligon has fn autonomous esence=nor to be confused withthe essence of c= ‘nce, oof politics, or of common sense—invites us co define igo {like any estence) a transhistorical apd taneculeutl phenomenon Te may bea happy accent that this effort of defining eligion co ‘verges with the liberal demand in on time thai be kep quite sep from polis, lw ane cience—spaces in whichvacetie of powet tnd reason aeiclate our datinetively modern ie, This definition is once part ofa strategy (or secular hiberas ofthe confinement, and (or libetal Christians) ofthe defense ofeligion Yer thie separation of religion from power is « modern Westera norm, the prodct of niu post Reformation history. Te ape ro understand Muslim traditions by insisting tat in them religion and polities (wo essences modern society tries to Keep conceptually 29d pretclly apart) are coupled must, sm my view, lead to Faure, APS fnoat dubious, such attempts encourage Us to take up an prior pos Relpion san Ania Cary 39 tion in which religions discourse in the politic) aren ie cen a8 4 isguise for polite power In what follows I want to examine the ways in which the the- ‘rei earch fr an essence of religion invites us te sepatate icon. ‘eprally from the domain of power I shall do this by exploring & univenalist definition of religion offered by an eminent antheopoto is: Clifford Geeta “Religion 2 Calural System. I stese that {hiss not primarily citial review of Gertz’ ideas on eeligon if that had teen my sim T would have adresed myself eo the eae ‘corps ois writings on eligon in Indonesia ant Mororco, My in tention in this chapter isto try to dentify some athe historical hits ‘tha have produced our concept of elgion a the Concept ofa teas historical essence and Geert article merely starting pone. {tis part of my basic argument hat socal Wentifable forms, preconditions, and effect of what was regarded 4 elgin in te me ieval Christian epoch were quite diferent fro those so considered in modern socery.Lwant to get at this well-known fact whl eying to ‘Hida simple rominalsm. What we cll reigious power was dif. “These divergences are symptoms of Me Tact that cpitive ques snap hander sn eg ra ‘enetn mat fora Hone i pc cig obey ‘Serioumind fezecy ine leraitdoe harhriesreprsetnon” esc, Religion asa Anshrplapinl Cagory tions ae mixed up in this account with communicative ones, ad tis makes it difficlt to ingize into rhe ways in which dacourse and ‘undentaning are connected in socal practic, To begin with we might 53,384 numberof writers have done, hat aaynibal sno an oS ‘vent that serves to carey meaning but aset of lationsips between objects or events uniquely Brought together as complexes ors cor ‘eptiehaving at once an intellectual, instrumental, an! emotions! significance If we define symbol along thee lines» number of ‘questions can be raised about the conitions chat explain how such ‘completes and concepts come to be former, and in particule how {hei formation i elated to varieties Of pracice. Hill censor ap Vygotaky was able o show how the development ofchldeen'intellect is dependent onthe internalization of soil speech.” This means that the Ormation of whac we have here called “symbols” (complexes ‘concept i conditioned bythe soc relations in which the growing, «childs involved—ty the social activities that he o hes permitted «encoraged or obliged ro undertake—in which other symbols opeech snnsignificant movements are crucial. The conditions Scanive sn ‘nondscursive) shat explain how symbols come tobe constructed, ad ‘ov some of them are established a natural oe aithoitatie a oppor ‘ocshen, chen been an mporantobict of athropologiaingury. Temnst be stesed that cis not a matter of srging the study ofthe ‘origin and function of symbole in addition vo thee meaning such slistinetion is noe relevane here. What i bing argued that the mt thontaive seams of representationeldincoures is dependent on the 4+ Yay mae il acl ine denen ts scr tegen, pins ol tue ene sgh Sonne Upemth citer ca dce-emn a ee CE allngrn op 3) ead ofthe ne conattionberween ‘tonnes wha sue tes gaa oe tcl incon conga cpanel Ce eee ‘Seyteommanaie aay hr ow pce ean ct aves ‘AE tee nan gece rnc) one gears Tae pment ht nl pe Sar ee epee et ele oy“ Sather Set A iver wa hen ch ry Li 3 Thin ft prenatal et ater ef nett es ia ea pea Wy es