Chapter

1. Ritualization

Barry Stephenson

in Ritual

Published in print January 2015 | ISBN: 9780199943524
Published online February 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780199394432 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/actrade/9780199943524.003.0002

Series: Very Short Introductions

1. Ritualization

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‘Ritualization’ considers one of the cornerstones of ritual studies—ritualization. It begins with ethology, the study of animal behaviour and goes on to discuss ritualization theory and how this has shaped new attitudes toward the rites we humans perform. Ethology postulates that ritualization is a selective process that allows for the enhanced communication of evolutionary advantageous information and emotional states. What is gained through a biological approach to ritual? What does ethology contribute to our understanding of human ritual, and what are its limitations? Ritual is a window toward our biological or animal being and our cultural being; it is also the point at which these dimensions intersect, mingle, and influence one another.

Keywords: action; animal; communication; Charles Darwin; ethology; ritualization

Chapter.  4731 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Sociology and Anthropology of Religion ; Customs and Traditions ; Animal Behaviour and Behavioural Ecology ; Social and Cultural Anthropology

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