Materials for the present thesis were gathered in the course of
field research in the Anlo District of South- eastern Ghana, between
March 1956 and December 1957. The main objective was to investigate
and describe the influence of Western European culture on the magicoreligious
concepts and organization of an unindustrialised West
African community. In i_:ursuance of this objective, it was necessary
to indicate the degree of success or failure in the assimilation of
European factors of change. Relative values of the institutions
concerned on both sides were not thought relevant to the study.
What was considered of fundamental value was an indication of the
manner in which traditional cults served the needs of the community
concerned and how far a changed situation, resulting from a money
economy, a new political system, Christianity and education, contributed
to modification or alteration of the traditional picture. If
the traditional religious system was modified or altered, this would
imply adaptation of old cults in new shape, to essentially new cults
or to new religious systems. Framed as specific enquiries, the main
questions being asked from one stage to another are:
(i) How did the traditional cults serve the social needs of
(ii) To what extent does the introduction of a money economy,
a new political system, Christianity and education lead to a changed
(iii) What forms of religious adaptation are the by- products of
this new situation?
In accordance with these objectives, the thesis has been divided
into three parts: (a) Traditional Background; (b) Transition;
(c) The Contemporary Scene. The first part examines the interrelationship
of the traditional religion and social structure, and how
cult groups are designed to the need -satisfaction of members. It
is the study of religion in terms of social reality.
The second part deals largely with the nature of the
European impact. The introduction of money as involving a medium
of exchange, a method of buying services and its relation to the
traditional life and belief, is examined. Similarly, the role of
the - Christianity, education, new administration
- in relation to the traditional culture is analysed.
This part of the study lays the ground for the next section.
In the contemporary scene, the effects of contact, as they
manifest themselves in various forms of religious adaptation, are
described. Adaptation or reintegration is at two levels: (a)
traditional religious adaptation; (b) Christian church adaptation.
In both forms of adaptation, almost equal emphasis is given to
both cultural and social factors in the adaptive process.
It is evident from the above statement of aims and objectives
that the present study does not intend to make theoretical
contributions to the origins of religion; nor does it intend to
compare on ethical grounds the different religious systems involved
in our study. It rather seeks by inductive analysis of
observed facts in a culturally homogenous area in West Africa to
make some contribution to the existing knowledge of "social change ".
This leads us to methodology.