L11J28 - Lecture 11 (28/01/11) Rituals - There are various...

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Lecture 11 (28/01/11) Rituals - There are various kinds of rituals - What do rituals do? o In relation to meaning – they are meaningful insofar as they constitute a reality o Set of factors that make something real, models for action, and they channel/constrain action o They are forms of social control o Ex. Religious leaders justifying their elite status through ritual/communicating with gods o Having various rules of politeness establishes a form of control (you know when it begins/ends), control on action – wouldn’t say “that’s disgusting” when eating at someone’s house - Rituals are also devices for communication 0 they give information about enduring aspects - In rituals there are standard aspects which are repeated unchanged as ritual is done again, and others which are adapted to specific circumstances, so a ritual provides info about enduring aspects and the sender/receivers states o Ex. Religious services/masses have standard elements and others which are adapted to specific occasions (ex. Easter) … so you want a structure that establishes rigidity and inside there is a certain extent of variability which is called for o Ex. Handshakes – how firm you give the handshake gives an idea of your character - MIDTERM/EXAM… Give an example of your own for such and such… - Another important element of rituals follows from the fact that they are stereotyped and prescribed, they supposed sacred statements (supposed to be accepted as true without doubt) rituals support these by removing them from critical discourse o If you are participating in a ritual which affirms something, it at the same time makes it impossible to discuss or criticize the content in question o Ex. Imagine a civic ritual of saluting the flag… as long as people are participating they are corralled in a situation where they are not openly questioning the statement made by the ritual (refusing to participate challenges this statement) - New Guinea Highlands – Tsembaga o Horticulturalists – make gardens for tubers/other veggies o Warfare was n important part of their social life, warfare took place frequently but not in a continuous manner o At the end of an event of warfare, each local group who had been involved, planted a
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L11J28 - Lecture 11 (28/01/11) Rituals - There are various...

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