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2. Definitions and Approaches

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Chapter Summary

This chapter finds a correspondence between the components of a system (in the synchronic perspective), and registers chain reactions between components as they change through time in the diachronic perspective. The two perspectives together allow for a functional account of the Aiginetan religious system. The chapter traces how agency (worshippers and their motivations) shapes the dynamics and practical relevance of the system. The author uses the term designating not a specific form but a corresponding level of social organization mesocosm, a level in-between the world of an individual and the world of cultural macrocosm. Horden and Purcell use such terms as 'definite places', microregions, and 'microecologies' to refer to localities "with a distinctive identity derived from the set of available opportunities and the particular interplay of human responses to them found in a given period. The chapter also discusses structuralist and functionalist approaches in Greek religion.

Keywords: Aiginetan religious system; cultural macrocosm; definite places; diachronic perspective; functionalist approach; mesocosm; structuralist approach; synchronic perspective



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