Full Text

Ritual

Philip Smith


Subject Sociology » Sociology of Culture and Media

Key-Topics ritual

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405124331.2007.x


Extract

Ritual involves conventionalized and stylized human actions. These are often organized with reference to overarching cultural codes, have a communicative intent, and generate powerful emotional responses among participants. Historically marginalized as a concern for anthropologists, since the cultural turn became institutionalized in social theory in the 1980s the concept of ritual has become more and more central to the sociological enterprise. The core debates revolve around the following themes: (1) whether priority should be given to analyzing rites (embodied actions, doing) or beliefs (cosmologies and symbols, thinking); (2) how a model conceived in functionalism can be adapted to include understandings of power and domination; (3) whether we should understand ritual in collectivistic or more microsociological ways. The canonical text for the study of ritual in social science is Durkheim's Elementary Forms of Religious Life . Here, Durkheim drew upon ethnographic material about Aboriginal Australia to argue that societies needed periodically to renew social bonds and solidaristic ties. Tribal gatherings involving ritual activity – the corroboree – performed this function. They involved the manipulation and invocation of symbols, totems, and supernatural forces; coordinated bodily motions and expressive actions, feasting and sexual activity, the enactment of myths and legends. ... log in or subscribe to read full text

Log In

You are not currently logged-in to Blackwell Reference Online

If your institution has a subscription, you can log in here:

 

     Forgotten your password?

Find out how to subscribe.

Your library does not have access to this title. Please contact your librarian to arrange access.


[ access key 0 : accessibility information including access key list ] [ access key 1 : home page ] [ access key 2 : skip navigation ] [ access key 6 : help ] [ access key 9 : contact us ] [ access key 0 : accessibility statement ]

Blackwell Publishing Home Page

Blackwell Reference Online ® is a Blackwell Publishing Inc. registered trademark
Technology partner: Semantico Ltd.

Blackwell Publishing and its licensors hold the copyright in all material held in Blackwell Reference Online. No material may be resold or published elsewhere without Blackwell Publishing's written consent, save as authorised by a licence with Blackwell Publishing or to the extent required by the applicable law.

Back to Top