Peering Behind the Platitudes—Rituals of Resistance

Margaret Lock

in Encounters with Aging

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 1994 | ISBN: 9780520082212
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520916623 | DOI:
Peering Behind the Platitudes—Rituals of Resistance

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Of the two styles of ritualistic resistance, orderly conflict is the more common. Participants act out resistance “in a predictable manner” primarily for the purpose of symbolically affirming the separate interests, identities, and goals. The second type of ritualized resistance involves a dramatic self-sacrifice usually by individuals who know that their goals are unattainable but who nevertheless choose to demonstrate sincerity of purpose and purity of motive. Suicide expresses this form of resistance: the cases of Mishima Yukio and Okamoto Kozo are two of the best-known recent examples. Even more disturbing are the suicides of children, most often those who have been teased unmercifully at school and cannot tolerate the insults of their classmates any longer. Even more common than resistance, however subtle, is reliance on the passage of time to take the edge off conflict.

Keywords: ritualistic resistance; orderly conflict; self-sacrifice; suicide; Okamoto Kozo; Mishima Yukio

Chapter.  9878 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

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