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the combination of elements from different religions or different cultural traditions. Syncretism in religious belief and practices has been especially associated with contexts, e.g. colonialism, in which a major religion is brought into contact with local religions, but it can also be seen as a general feature of the transformation of religions or cultures and of DIASPORAS. See also CULT, CARGO CULT, POSTCOLONIAL THEORY.



(1) The absence of differentiation that characterizes an undeveloped state of certain phenomena. Examples are art during the initial stages of human culture, when music, singing, poetry, and the dance were not distinguished from one another, and a child’s mental functions during the early stages of its development.

(2) The blending or inorganic merging of heterogeneous elements. An example is the merging of different cults and religious systems in late antiquity— the religous syncretism of the Hellenistic period.

(3) In philosophy, syncretism denotes a variant of eclecticism.



in linguistics, the merging of once formally distinct grammatical categories or meanings into one form, which, as a result, becomes polysemous or polyfunctional. In Latin, for example, syncretism in the case system led to a combining of the functions of the instrumental and locative cases in the ablative case. Syncretism can occur not only in the morphology but also in the syntax of a language. The concept of syncretism is paradigmatic, differing from the syntagmatic neutralization of oppositions. Syncretism is an irreversible systemic shift in the process of the development of a language; neutralization is a living process associated with the use of linguistic units in speech.

References in periodicals archive ?
Another reason why syncretism is controversial is that it is an etic rather than an emic term (Stewart 1999: 56-8).
In Chapter 3, Huseynova drives home a critical point: while the role of Russian composers was pivotal in Soviet Azerbaijan, the process of East-West syncretism was driven from the inside by Azerbaijani composers.
The Two had formed a syncretism whose parts were and still are uncannily familiar but whose final product was strange and terrifyingly alien.
The Ashur myth of the Munda tribe in Central India is one such alternative resource to initiate a life-centred syncretism.
The juxtaposition of these tents presents not only a moral challenge but a pictorial one: Viewers must reckon with the vastness and diversity of Clemente's iconography, his arcane syncretism.
The major drawback in the book that the chapters, each of which deal with a specific example of syncretism that she encountered while travelling around India, are barely four pages long.
The second essay, by Dawit Olika Terfassa from Ethiopia, discusses the relationship between the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY) and "the danger of syncretism as a result of retained attitudes and beliefs from traditional religion by EECMY members" (p.
23) Like syncretism, the term hybrid was used pejoratively in the colonial period, but has been resurrected to emphasize the more positive aspects of mixture.
The second essay in this section, "The Syncretism of Candomble and Feminism in Helena Parente Cuha's Women between Mirrors," has nothing to do with Christianity.
the cross-linguistic occurrence of the loss of morphological case, with particular reference to the genitive-dative syncretism apparently characterizing the majority of the Balkan languages.
In the end Jigoulov suggests that Sidon dominated much of the southern Levant during the Achaemenid Period based on his observation of religious syncretism involving the Sidonian cult of Astarte.
Levenson argues that syncretism (blending) and surrogacy (replacing) constitute two distinct, prevalent, radical, yet largely overlooked forms of assimilation in the modern era.