Religion and Ritual: A Multi-perspectival Approach

Peter Collins

in The Oxford Handbook of the Sociology of Religion

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780199588961
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

Religion and Ritual: A Multi-perspectival Approach


Ritual, with its expressive, performative, symbolic, and rational dimensions, has always been assumed to be a key element in the dynamic of transmission and reproduction of religion. This article illustrates how it builds and consolidates the Quaker community. It reviews most of the more influential theories of ‘ritual’, presenting the case of British Quaker meeting for worship. The article notes that it is an opportunity to focus on a contemporary Christian ‘ritual’, a form which has received relatively little attention from either sociologists or anthropologists. In this instance, it holds the ethnographic case constant and varies the theory.

Keywords: symbolism; Quaker community; Christian ritual; British Quaker

Article.  8046 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Sociology of Religion

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