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Book: Restoring the Chain of Memory

Chapter: Restoring the Chain of Memory: A Theory of Religion and Indigenous Religions

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.27444


This chapter establishes the theoretical base on which the analysis of this book proceeds. After outlining a theory of religion as the transmission of an overwhelming authoritative tradition that is passed on from generation to generation, or what the French sociologist Danièle Hervieu-Léger calls a ‘chain of memory’, Indigenous Religions are described as limited by two key concepts: kinship and locality. The chapter then considers the breakdown of memory as evidenced in the decline of religion in contemporary societies and by the demise of traditional religion in Indigenous contexts. It is on the basis of these key theoretical constructs that the writings of T.G.H. Strehlow are presented in later chapters and which form the basis for the author’s analysis of the repatriation of knowledge movement now developing in Central Australia.

Chapter Contributors

  • James Cox ( - jamescox) 'University of Edinburgh'