The Forest of Symbols: Aspects of Ndembu Ritual

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Cornell University Press, 1970 - Social Science - 405 pages
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A pioneering work of high quality, this collection of anthropological studies provides one of the most detailed records available for an African society--or indeed for any group--of the semantics of ritual symbolism. It combines unusually detailed ethnographic description, based upon field work among the Ndembu of Zambia, with remarkable theoretical sophistication. Professor Turner describes the ritual phenomena in terms both of practice and of their sociological and psychological implications within a preliterate society.

Case histories illustrate the function of ritual in creating community harmony. Data on circumcision rites and medical practices and an essay on color classification have wide implications for comparative analysis. Excellent photographs and useful diagrams complement the text.


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very interesing and a good help for those that study anthropology


Introduction I
Symbols in Ndembu Ritual
Ritual Symbolism Morality and Social Structure among
A Problem in Primi
The Liminal Period in Rites
Taxonomy versus Dynamics
Muchona the Hornet Interpreter of Religion
The Rite of Circumcision
Themes in the Symbolism of Ndembu Hunting Ritual
Lunda Medicine and the Treatment of Disease

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About the author (1970)

Victor Turner (1920?1983) was professor of religion and anthropology at the University of Chicago. He authored many books, including Dramas, Fields, and Metaphors: Symbolic Action in Human Society and Revelation and Divination in Ndembu Ritual, both published by Cornell.

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