Publication Date



In a recently published textbook in general anthropology, the following statement is made: "Religion by its very nature is a conservative institution and changes slowly to meet new demands." This idea that a society, particularly a primitive society, is in general more conservative with regard to the religious aspects of its culture than in any other respect, is of course not a new one. It has received expression by many anthropologists and sociologists, and others, over a period of many years, and its mere reiteration leads us to suspect that it has some validity. As Jacobs and Stern point out, "Many writers have claimed that religion has necessarily always been among the most conservative aspects of culture in its rate of change." A few examples will be sufficient for present purposes. Marett says,

The religion of a savage is part of his custom...between him and the unknown stands nothing but his custom. It is his all-in-all, his stand-by, his faith and his hope... we may say that any and every custom, in so far as it is regarded as lucky, is a religious rite.

Document Type




Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

UNM Department of Anthropology

First Committee Member (Chair)

Leslie Spier

Second Committee Member

Willard Williams Hill

Third Committee Member

Florence Hawley Ellis

Fourth Committee Member

Stanley S. Newman


This dissertation has three volumes. Volumes 2 and 3 may be downloaded at the links at the bottom of this page.

Included in

Anthropology Commons