Bent's Old Fort as the New Word

Douglas C. Comer

in Ritual Ground

Published by University of California Press

Published in print December 1996 | ISBN: 9780520204294
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520918702 | DOI:
Bent's Old Fort as the New Word

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This chapter discusses how the shape of the material world at Bent's Old Fort directed behavior into ritualistic patterns and reinforced cultural assumptions regarding the world of our ancestors. It explains that the fort and the surrounding landscape operated in a similar way to the medicine lodge of the Sun Dance to ritually convey both the new social order and the legitimation of that order embedded in the seeming naturalness of the massive and imposing structure. The chapter also argues that the fort was an effective model of a panoptic structure, a reflection of the set of behaviors associated with panopticism, behaviors which were imposed by the architecture of the fort on all who lived and visited there.

Keywords: Bent's Old Fort; material world; ritualistic patterns; new social order; panoptic structure; panopticism

Chapter.  15153 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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