Chapter

7. The fortunes of ritual

Barry Stephenson

in Ritual

Published in print January 2015 | ISBN: 9780199943524
Published online February 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780199394432 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/actrade/9780199943524.003.0008

Series: Very Short Introductions

7. The fortunes of ritual

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‘The fortunes of ritual’ charts the history of ritual, its study, and its reception beginning with the Confucian text Liji. This outlines means to counter humanity's fallen state through devices, guides, and practices called li, which are imagined as knots binding society together. Jumping to Enlightenment Europe, ritual came to be viewed as staid and outmoded, a superstitious remnant of a primitive past, a past that prevented humanity from truly advancing. In the early twentieth century, ritual was given some credibility via the Durkhemian tradition of social functionalism and Julian Huxley's causal connection between society's ills and ineffectual ritualization in society. Recent ritual theory articulates the relationship between ritual and group solidarity as seen through participation in contemporary festivals.

Keywords: Mary Douglas; Mircea Eliade; Europe; festivals; Sigmund Freud; knots; ritualization; tradition

Chapter.  4522 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Sociology and Anthropology of Religion ; Customs and Traditions ; Animal Behaviour and Behavioural Ecology ; Social and Cultural Anthropology

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