Expertise, Prestige, and Authority

M. Whitney Kelting

in Singing to the Jinas

Published in print August 2001 | ISBN: 9780195140118
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834365 | DOI:
Expertise, Prestige, and Authority

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Both expertise and prestige are sources for authority in Jain religious contexts. Most religious expertise inheres with the laywomen who teach and monitor the orthopraxy and orthodoxy of children, while the bulk of religious prestige is located in male dominated practices. Jain laywomen negotiate their positions as authorities in public, all‐women contexts, where their expertise is evaluated and where prestige practices have been introduced to make the program grander. They also jockey for positions of authority in mixed‐ gender contexts dominated by male participation, centering on prestige practices that challenge women's expertise‐based authority. These negotiations occur particularly in large‐scale public liturgical performance and devotional singing sessions. The introduction of religious professionals, auctions, and amplification illuminates the struggle defined by complex tensions between gender and class identities for authority in Jain ritual contexts.

Keywords: authority; education; expertise; gender; orthopraxy; prestige; public; religious; rituals

Chapter.  15765 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: East Asian Religions

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