Ritual: Perspectives and Dimensions
From handshakes and toasts to chant and genuflection, ritual pervades our social interactions and religious practices. Still, few of us could identify all of our daily and festal ritual behaviors, much less explain them to an outsider. Similarly, because of the variety of activities that qualify as ritual and their many contradictory yet, in many ways, equally legitimate interpretations, ritual seems to elude any systematic historical and comparative scrutiny. In this book, Catherine Bell offers a practical introduction to ritual practice and its study; she surveys the most influential theories of religion and ritual, the major categories of ritual activity, and the key debates that have shaped our understanding of ritualism. Bell refuses to nail down ritual with any one definition or understanding. Instead, her purpose is to reveal how definitions emerge and evolve and to help us become more familiar with the interplay of tradition, exigency, and self- expression that goes into constructing this complex social medium.
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action Akitu American analysis analyzed ancient anthropologist argued attempt basic behavior beliefs Catherine Bell ceremonies Chicago Chinese Christian church complex concerned context contrast cultural defined developed dimensions distinctions divine Douglas Durkheim Edmund Leach effect Eliade Émile Durkheim example experience express festival formal Frazer Frits Staal function Geertz Gennep Gluckman gods historical human identity interpretation Judaism Kwanzaa Liturgy magic Mary Douglas means Mircea Eliade modern myth and ritual nature Ncwala Ndembu one’s organization orthopraxy particular patterns people’s performance perspective political potlatch primitive relationships religion religious Richard Schechner rites of passage ritual activities ritual practices Ritual Theory ritual-like Robertson Smith role sacred sacrifice scholars secular social society spirit money spirits structure study of ritual style of ritual suggests symbols television theorists tion totemic traditional traditionalism Turner University Press values Victor Turner Vodou women York