Douglas J. Davies

in Oxford Textbook of Spirituality in Healthcare

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199571390
Published online August 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199665037 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Textbook in Public Health


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  • Public Health and Epidemiology
  • Palliative Medicine


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Ritual has found a particular place in the theoretical developments of anthropology as a concept describing shared patterns of behaviour expressing values, evoking emotions, and fostering identity within group contexts. Although traditionally associated with liturgical ceremonies of religious movements, ritual covers many aspects of life including healthcare, crises of wellbeing, death, and bereavement. This chapter emphasizes how ritual uses symbols to unite emotions with ideas in generating values that underlie a person’s group-based identity. Accordingly, ‘ritual’ will frequently be synonymous with ‘ritual-symbolism’.

Chapter.  5638 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology ; Palliative Medicine

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