This paper proposes a novel procedural framework for the archaeological study of the long-term transformation of religious practices by heuristically defining the religious in terms of their functional-effective elements. Thus, religious activities constitute a distinct communicative domain that responds to and processes the uncertainties and risks of the world. Drawing on this re-definition, this paper proposes a procedure comprising the following units of investigation: (A) what uncertainties and risks of the world were generated in and differentiated by a certain social formation; (B) how were they responded to and processed; and (C) how is the mode of the responding and processing changed as social formations are transformed? The applicability of this procedure is examined through a case study from the pre- and proto-historic periods of the Japanese archipelago. It is hoped that the framework reintroduces causally explanatory, comparative and long-term perspectives to the archaeological study of religious practices.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cultural Studies