Some social scientists have been tempted to make wide ranging comparisons of whole societies, or cultures, using key metaphors as the units of comparison. Carol Delaney in her monograph on a Turkish village and subsequent wide-ranging paper suggested that concepts of bio-social procreation could be generative of wider and deeper cosmological, theological and gender ideas, for the Abrahamic religions. This idea was ‘tested’ using data from older people in Greek Cypriot villages and in Greece who had been less exposed to medical and bio-scientific discourses during higher education. The findings were both suggestive, of similarities, but also did not support Delaney’s wider and wilder imaginative constructions. This paper suggests we need to work closer to specific regions and identifiable social cohorts, and that we need to pay more attention to successive folkloric texts, rather than theology to understand these issues empirically.
Carol Delaney, key metaphors, procreation beliefs, Geertz
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