Analyze Native American Societies Essay

1474 Words May 15th, 2011 6 Pages
Soc 161
04-19-11

This essay will analyze Native American societies for world view and cultural and institutional differentiation. In so doing, we will discuss the possibilities or the lack of endogenously generated social change within American Indian societies and cultures. Mainly this essay will concentrate on two important aspects of world view that contribute to conservatism in Native American cultures. The two aspects are as follows, holistic Native American beliefs versus dualistic world views, and in so discussing we will illuminate the reader’s knowledge about the differences in views of purity and salvation. The second important aspect is that of the economic ethic: American Capitalism versus Native American subsistence labor
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Weber finds an explanation for the breakdown of European traditional capitalism in Calvinist doctrine. Calvinist doctrine proclaimed that Gods will was predetermined for all time, only the elect received salvation, and all had a specific calling. Weber interpreted Calvinism as an otherworldly religion, where people sought to achieve salvation in the next world, not in this world, which was considered evil, corrupt, and full of sin. Although otherworldly salvation is the primary goal, Calvinists needed to show that they belonged to the elect, those chosen to go to heaven. Although the elect were predetermined, none know if they belonged to the chosen, and each person was enjoined by the Calvinist community to act like one of the elect and do the work of God on earth. Calvinists were not allowed to enjoy worldly comforts but were enjoined to be moral, work hard, and accumulate wealth as signs of their labor and moral fortitude. Wealth was a sign of the fruits of constant labor but could not be used to satisfy personal pleasures; therefore, it was reinvested in order to make more wealth and provide more work for others.” (Champagne, 2007: 29)

This for Weber is the beginning of American Capitalism, later to be known as the protestant work ethic. This view is far from that of the Native American communities, for they were and are concerned with gaining balance with nature and giving thanks for gifts that the Creator has given, not salvation in

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