Rodeo: An Anthropologist Looks at the Wild and the Tame

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University of Chicago Press, May 15, 1984 - Performing Arts - 288 pages
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Rodeo people call their sport "more a way of life than a way to make a living." Rodeo is, in fact, a rite that not only expresses a way of life but perpetuates it, reaffirming in a ritual contest between man and animal the values of American ranching society. Elizabeth Atwood Lawrence uses an interpretive approach to analyze rodeo as a symbolic pageant that reenacts the "winning of the West" and as a stylized expression of frontier attitudes toward man and nature. Rodeo constestants are the modern counterparts of the rugged and individualistic cowboys, and the ethos they inherited is marked by ambivalence: they admire the wild and the free yet desire to tame and conquer.

Based on extensive field work and drawing on comparative materials from other stock-tending societies, Rodeo is a major contribution to an understanding of the role of performance in society, the culturally constructed view of man's place in nature, and the structure and meaning of social relationships and their representations.
  

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Contents

INTRODUCTION
5
THE SPORT OF RODEO
14
THE PROGRAM OF EVENTS IN RODEO
27
THE ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT OF RODEO
46
THE AMERICAN WORKING COWBOY
51
RODEO AS THE INHERITOR OF COWBOY
85
MANHORSE RELATIONSHIPS IN RODEO
133
WILD HORSES
137
THE HORSE IN THE BAR
168
THE ROLE OF CATTLE IN RODEO
171
BULLS IN RODEO
182
THE ROLE OF OTHER ANIMALS IN RODEO
201
HUMAN RELATIONS WITH NATURE EXPRESSED IN RODEO
210
THE EMPHASIS ON PHYSIOLOGICAL SUBSTANCES
214
RELATIONS OF THE RANCHRODEO COMPLEX WITH THE WILD
225
SOME EXAMPLES FROM OTHER PASTORAL CULTURES
237

THE MUSTANGS
142
THE WILD HORSE RACE OF RODEO
144
THE BRONCS OF RODEO
145
HORSES OF THE TIMED EVENTS OF RODEO
153
RODEO HORSES AS COUNTERPARTS OF COWBOYS MOUNTS
157
THE SACRIFICIAL ROLE OF THE HORSE IN RODEO
159
HORSES IN THE SPECIAL ACTS OF RODEO
162
WILD CATS AT THE RODEO
241
THE RANCHRODEO VIEW OF THE WILD
246
A SUMMARY AND COMPARISON TO PLAINS INDIAN VIEW
264
SUMMARY
269
REFERENCES CITED
274
INDEX
283
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