16ritiualpower - 16 RITUAL AND POWER(4/05 Often there is an...

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16. RITUAL AND POWER (4/05) Often there is an assumption that whatever ritual does, it is for the good of society as a whole. Goes with functionalism as form of analysis. Often ritual romanticized. For many New Agers, is spoken of in hushed tones: anything ritual is good. But we should be ready to see ritual that benefits one party more than others: Kuna marriage ritual enjoyed by everyone, but reinforcing status quo, which most benefits senior generation, part of way they dominate junior generation Often relatively obvious with political rituals: Elizabethan monarchy great spectacles of power 19 th and 20 th century, House of Windsor, masters of staging rituals, full-time specialists, adapted to film and television Nazis were masters. Filmed, got great but unscrupulous filmmaker, Leni Riefenstahl, to film. very persuasive. An example of an (unrecognized) contemporary ritual We have reading from Erving Goffman, on procedures used to bring people into closed institutions like prisons, monasteries, concentration camps etc. Part of great book, Asylums (1961). Q. Why include this here? Why relevant? The procedures G analyzes are really a form of ritual, very close to traditional rites of passage, even though those administering the procedures (except perhaps for religious orders) would probably deny that were a ritual. Q. What actions strip you of previous identity? Take away clothes, in many cases name. Cut hair, important marker of your individuality. Q. If as Turner says, in middle period one is stripped of all identity, how do we see that in these procedures? Leave you naked. Do things that reduced you to lump of generic humanity: depersonalizing photos, disinfect, weigh, fingerprint. Q. Then how do they build up a new identity? New name, clothes, etc. Q. Why is all this so important for those who control total institutions? Because living in them is such a change, so demanding; challenge to socialize and control inmates. Have to do it fast and very forcefully. Obviously not to benefit the inmates but those in control.
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