Ritual and Controversy at Deer Camp

J. Bronner Simon

in Killing Tradition

Published by University Press of Kentucky

Published in print November 2008 | ISBN: 9780813125282
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813135007 | DOI:
Ritual and Controversy at Deer Camp

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This chapter analyzes a cultural scene in the deer camps of Pennsylvania, a leading location for what has been called America's hunting culture. It looks at the rhetoric and strategy of the anti-hunting campaign that has directed its wrath against the images of “barbarism” in the all-male gatherings at deer camp. The chapter notes that deer as a subject are significant because they are the most widely targeted prey among hunters associated with American pioneer heritage. It examines cultural practices or rituals as a process, where, it suggests, the act of ritualization condenses and symbolizes relationships; ritualization is central to the communicative dimension of social life. The chapter points out that participants in the hunting camp socialize around ritual and ritualize the social, symbolizing the conflicts between life and death as well as relationships of masculinity to modernity.

Keywords: cultural scene; deer camps; Pennsylvania; hunting culture; rituals; social life; masculinity; modernity

Chapter.  28535 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environment

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