This minimal consent actually contrasts with the degree of conviction frequently required in more day-to-day activities…” (186). Bell critiques her for emphasizing the difference between social and physical bodies. To browse Academia.edu and the wider internet faster and more securely, please take a few seconds to upgrade your browser. They also suggest that ritualized activities specifically do, “In the following sections I will argue that the projection and embodiment of schemes in ritualization is more effectively viewed as a ‘mastering’ of relationships of power relations within an arena that affords a negotiated appropriation of the dominant values embedded in the symbolic schemes. very much concerned with power. As we will see, the theory espoused here 1 Staal 1989. The construction of this environment and the activities within it simultaneously work to impress these schemes upon the bodies of participants. “Herein likes the implicit structural homology: the fusion of thought and action described within ritual is homologized to a fusion of the theoretical project and its object, ritual activity. anti-theoretical and committed to cultural self-reflection by the West. Catherine Bell Ritual Theory Ritual Practice Oxford University Press USA. In this volume, Bell re-examines the issues, methods, and ramifications of our interest in ritual by concentrating on anthropology, sociology, and the history of religions. In the following chapter I will attempt to demonstrate this alternative position more fully by showing how ritualization as a strategic mode of practice produces nuanced relationships of power, relationships characterized by acceptance and resistance, negotiated appropriation, and redemptive reinterpretation of the hegemonic order” (196). He fails to do better than the functionalists he critiques for not being able to explain change (33-34). Some theorists have tried to build on and improve performance theory, but they are still vulnerable to critiques, such as the fact that sometimes ritual isn’t a performance but is intended to cause change in the outside world (43). Ritual studies today figures as a central element of religious discourse for many scholars around the world. Part III: is on theories of ritual as social control. “In brief, it is my general thesis here that ritualization, as a strategic mode of action effective within certain social orders, does not, in any useful understanding of the words, ‘control’ individuals or society. Bell traces discussions of power from Hobbes to Lukes (who writes of three dimensions of power); another lineage of discussions of power runs from Machiavelli to Foucault, the latter being the dominant voice Bell discusses in the chapter. Physical description 270 p. Online. Bell proposes to retain but modify the term: “I, Part II: “I propose a focus on ‘ritualization’ as a strategic. Summary: The body is the focus of this chapter. This paper. And yet what ritualization does is actually quite simple: it temporarily structures a space-time environment through a series of physical movements (using schemes described earlier), thereby producing an arena which, by its molding of the actors, both validates and extends the schemes they are internalizing. Geertz looks at ritual by other metaphors, including game, drama, or text (43). It is this invisible process of ‘homologization’, driven by the implicit presence of an opposition between conceptual and behavioral categories, that begins to construct a persuasive and apparently logical body of discourse” (21). It is argued that ritual practices generate belief and belonging in participants by activating multiple social–psychological mechanisms that interactively create the characteristic outcomes of ritual. In this process of ritualization, “the production of a ritualized agent via the interaction of a body within a structured and structuring environment” (100), the context is key though not completely determinative of the ritualized agent. Ritual Theory, Ritual Practice, Catherine Bell's sweeping and seminal work on the subject, helped legitimize the field. Ritualization is probably an effective way of acting only under certain cultural circumstances” (140-141). Now with a … The theoretical construction of ritual becomes a reflection of the theorist’s method and the motor of a discourse in which the concerns of theorists take center stage” (54). Through the orchestration in time of loose but strategically organized oppositions, in which a few oppositions quietly come to dominate others, the social body internalizes the principles of the environment being delineated. She then turns to a deconstructive approach, and demonstrates that this is logically nonfunctional. For example, in “Deep Play,” ritual is depicted like a text which can be decoded but also acknowledges the difficulties of using text as a metaphor, which is echoed by Tambiah (44). Grimes suggest that the human body is primary to ritual but explains this because the body can enact social roles and cultural meanings. He also presents them as synthesized at other times, making the ethos-worldview relationship into a dialectic (there is a related argument for “models for” and “models of”) (26). This domination is maintained and disguised by virtue of the implicit structuring of the thought-action dichotomy in its various forms” (54). The coherence, continuity, and general scope of these associations naturalize the values expressed in the subtle relationships established among oppositions. Achetez neuf ou d'occasion The distinction between symbolic and secular power is also made, the former relating to ritual and ideology and the latter to institutions. She's right, by the way. 2008: 17–42 and 179–182. “The implicit dynamic and ‘end’ of ritualization—that which it does not see itself doing—can be said to be the production of a ‘ritualized body.’ A ritualized body is a body invested with a ‘sense’ of ritual. As such, of course, the redemptive hegemony of practice does not reflect reality more or less effectively; it creates it more or less effectively. Any ideology is always in dialogue with, and thus shaped and constrained by, the voices it is suppressing, manipulating, echoing. “Cultural knowledge constituted through the study of ritual and performance appears to experiment with a new sense of community between theorists and actors, characterized by modest, mutual dependence and shared problems of meaning, epistemology, and critical self-reflection. The Divinity School and Graduate Department of Religion, Vanderbilt University (USA), USA. Namely, she questions the universality (7). Bell also clarifies Foucault’s use of the term ritual with respect to power. Ritual Theory, Ritual Practice, Catherine Bell's sweeping and seminal work on the subject, helped legitimize the field. Create a free account to download . Chel Mau. Find it Stacks. From Ritual Theory to Theorizing Rituals . In this volume, Bell re-examines the issues, methods, and ramifications of our interest in ritual by concentrating on anthropology, sociology, and the history of religions. many centuries. Ritualization, the production of ritualized acts, can be described, in part, as that way of acting that sets itself off from other ways of acting by virtue of the way in which it does what it does. This sense of ritual exists as an implicit variety of schemes whose deployment works to produce sociocultural situations that the ritualized body can dominate in some way. Sorry, preview is currently unavailable. A third pattern is seen in Turner’s work, ritual is related to communal unity as opposed to friction and competition, but then it is also the site of mediation between. Instead, I have proposed a new framework within which to reconsider traditional questions about ritual. This argument suggests that, historically, the whole issue of ritual arose as a discrete phenomenon to the eyes of social observers in that period in which ‘reason’ and the scientific pursuit of knowledge were defining a particular hegemony in Western intellectual life” (6). Theories of ritual have tended to fall into one of two categories: rituals are a distinctive form of activity or rituals are congruous with other human actions. Rather, it is the far more powerful act of subordination disguised in such differentiation , the subordination of act to thought, or actors to thinkers” (48-49). 2 Sahlins 1996, Asad 1993. Ritual Theory, Ritual Practice is a thesis which proposes methods for overcoming the divide between thought and action present in the descriptions of ritual. Bell draws on Jameson to note parallel in linguistic theory of differentiation of two terms that come up in subsequent levels of analysis. Download with Google Download with Facebook. The Archaeology of Ritual. “In effect, the dichotomy that isolates ritual on the one hand and the dichotomy that is mediated by ritual on the other become loosely homologized with each other. Bell emphasizes Foucault’s theories of power as local, working indirectly on actions, embedded in networks of relations, and exercised on those who are free and who can resist. On the other hand many problems attend the attempt to see ritual as a dimension of all or many forms of social behavior” (74). On the contrary, ritualized practices afford a great diversity of interpretation in exchange for little more than consent to the form of the activities. “In sum, it is a major reversal of traditional theory to hypothesize that ritual activity is not the ‘instrument’ of more basic purposes, such as power, politics, or social control, which are usually seen as existing before or outside the activities of the rite. Academia.edu no longer supports Internet Explorer. “The main argument suggests that ritualization is a strategy for the construction of a limited and limiting power relationship. “...theoretical discourse about ritual is organized as a coherent whole by virtue of a logic based on the opposition of thought and action.” the system, and an expedient rather than perfectly ordered one at that. “In the final analysis the results of such a differentiation between thought and action cannot be presumed to provide an adequate position vis-à-vis human activity as such. Ritual studies today figures as a central element of religious discourse for many scholars around the world. A similar thing happens in ritual, though unlike Saussure, in ritual, there is a reintegration not just serial differentiations (23). Introduction Quotes. Ritualizing schemes invoke a series of privileged oppositions that, when acted in space and time through a series of movements, gestures, and sounds, effectively structure and nuance an environment. One is never confronted with ‘the meaning’ to accept or reject; one is always led into a redundant, circular, and rhetorical universe of values and terms whose signification keeps flowing into other values and terms” (106). This question and its answer should be understood as an alternative to the view that ritual is a functional mechanism or expressive medium in the service of social solidarity and control. The activity of separating categories is used to imply an inequality between two things (black and white, male and female), and such an activity is harmful, but she also suggests that to understand differentiation as an activity is to understand the basis of theory-making. In this volume, Bell re-examines the issues, methods, and ramifications of our interest in ritual by concentrating on anthropology, sociology, and the history of religions. Ritual Theory Ritual Practice by Catherine Bell available in Trade Paperback on Powells.com, also read synopsis and reviews. “Ritual does what it does through the privileged differentiations and deferred resolutions by which the ritualized body structures an environment, an environment that in turn impresses its highly nuanced structure on the bodies of those involved in the rite. Yet, domination has not disappeared, and is in fact maintained in the thought-action dichotomy. It is also a vision of empowerment tat is rooted in the actor’s perceptions and experiences of the organization of power. a coherent set of ideas, statements, or attitudes imposed on people who dutifully internalize them. Bell also raises V. Turner’s body-centered thesis and Valeri’s intellectualist thesis, which contrast Douglas’ functionalist thesis. Noté /5. When put in the context of purposive activity with all the characteristics of human practice (strategy, specificity, misrecognition, and redemptive hegemony), a focus on ritual yields to a focus on ritualization. She suggests that within this discourse of cultural knowledge, there may be attempts to deal with the traditional relationship between subject and theorist which needs to be reevaluated within this new context. that defines a culture’s sense of reality. (see 86-88), which highlights the extent to which there is a certain blindness to practice, it “does not see itself do what it actually does” (87). She also notes that the symbolic vs practical distinction is not a native, but an imposed one. Different from the ‘laws-and-instances’ mode of theorizing, as Geertz put it, the more recent style of object-and-discourse construction can appear to its participants as antitheoretical and committed to cultural self-reflection. It puts interpretive analysis on a new footing to suggest that ritual practices are themselves the very production and negotiation of power relations. Theorists speculating on ritual have tended to manipulate the thought-action dichotomy in constructing theories of ritual (25): “Hence, I am suggesting that descriptions of how rituals work have been constructed according to a logic rooted in the dynamics of theoretical speculation and the unconscious manipulation of the thought-action dichotomy is intrinsic to this construction” (25). The book also seeks to understand how theoretical knowledge is formed and “theoretical activity is differentiated from other forms of social activity” (5). “Thus, the dichotomous nature of conceptions of order (worldview) and dispositions for action (ethos) is fundamental to Geertz’s approach, as is their resolution in such symbolic systems as ritual. She goes on to show how this definition can serve to illuminate such classic issues in traditional ritual studies as belief, ideology, legitimation, and power. In this volume, Bell re-examines the issues, methods, and ramifications of our interest in ritual by concentrating on anthropology, sociology, and the history of religions. Edward Foley. Rather than an embracing ideological vision of the whole, it conveys a biased, nuanced rendering of the ordering of power so as to facilitate the envisioning of personal empowerment through activity in the perceived system” (84). The book is organized into three major sections: "The Practice of Ritual Theory" (chapters 1-3), which generally surveys the prior work in the field and situates Bell's book in that context; "The Sense of Ritual" (chapters 4-6), which develops the concept of ritual in terms of bodies and the external systems within which they work; and "Ritual and Power" (chapters 7-9), which frames the discussion of ritual in … In the organization of this environment some oppositions quietly dominate others but all also defer to others in a redundantly circular, and hence nearly infinite, chain of associations. Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism--Gershom Scholem, Maurice Olender, The Languages of Paradise, Raymond Williams - "Marxism and Literature", Ussama Makdisi - "The Culture of Sectarianism", Keiji Nishitani - "Religion and Nothingness". Yet the domination of the theoretical subject is neither abrogated nor transcended. In this way, ritual dynamics afford an experience of ‘order’ as well as the ‘fit’ between this taxonomic order and the real world of experience” (104). This is not a relationship in which one social group has absolute control over another, but one that simultaneously involves both consent and resistance, misunderstanding and appropriation. Ritual theories are embedded in larger discourses, and how ritual is conceived reflects and supports the discourse that is its frame. “I will show theoretical discourse on ritual to be highly structured by the differentiation and subsequent reintegration of two particular categories of human experience: thought and action. As such, of course, the redemptive hegemony of practice does not reflect reality more or less effectively; it creates it more or less effectively. Nor are societies themselves a matter of unitary social systems or totalities that act as one. “In sum, a redemptive hegemony is not an explicit ideology or a single and bounded. While this theory does recognize that there are not such clear cut differences between primitive and modern societies, she emphasizes that context is essential, and not all groups’ rituals can be described by the same theories, which the theory does not deal with adequately. To analyze practice in terms of its vision of redemptive hegemony is, therefore, to formulate the unexpressed assumptions that constitute the actor’s strategic understanding of the place, purpose, and trajectory of the act” (85). Hence, I will attempt to demonstrate that ritual does not control; rather, it constitutes a particular dynamic of social empowerment” (181). The basic thought/action dichotomy is a model for this bifurcation and reintegration in this series of homologous pairs, which is driven because a logic of behavioral versus conceptual categories is set up which carries throughout work on ritual. Bell critiques Turner’s late work for remaining dialectical and Stanley Tambiah’s theory of ritual as communication for falling into the dialectic pattern, too (41-42). Catherine Bell Ritual Theory Ritual Practice Oxford University Press USA. She suggests that the subordination of actors to thinkers is more damaging than the bifurcation itself. This exploration of the distinctive strategies and cultural logic that lie behind ritual activities may also begin to illuminate the distinctive strategies of theoretical practices” (80-81). This third part engages yet another fundamental query: When and why do the strategies of ritualization appear to be the appropriate or effective thing to do?” (169). Bell first summarizes the way theorists have dealt with the relationship between tradition, continuity, and change, pointing out that several scholars suggest a flexibility or oral culture and rigidity of written culture; also, ritual can be fixed activities and also have aspects that adapt. This page was last modified on 14 February 2016, at 17:17. Green Library. of ritual studies, indigenous ritualizes have also developed (emic) theories about rituals over . To view 1 Full Study Guide and 1 Book Review for this book, visit our Ritual Theory Ritual Practice - Summary and Analysis page. “This book undertakes such an analysis in two ways: first, through a critical reading of how the notion of ritual has been used in the study of religion, society, and culture; second, through an attempt to carve out an approach to ritual activities that is less encumbered by assumptions about thinking and acting and more disclosing of the strategies by which ritualized activities do what they do” (4). A second pattern: “This second pattern describes ritual as type of functional or structural mechanism to reintegrate the thought-action dichotomy, which may appear in the guise of a distinction between belief and behavior or any number of other homologous pairs” (20). Such definitions define what can be called ritual and what cannot and lead to categories of ritual. In this volume, Bell re-examines the issues, methods, and ramifications of our interest in ritual by concentrating on anthropology, sociology, and the history of religions. Ritual Theory, Ritual Practice, Catherine Bell's sweeping and seminal work on the subject, helped legitimize the field. Malinowski’s theory of magic is well-known and has been widely ac- cepted.2 He holds that any primitive people has a body of empirical kn I will attempt to develop a fuller description of the strategy of ritualization in order to return to the question with which Part III began, Why and when is ritualization an appropriate and effective way of acting? “The argument of this chapter is essentially a simple one: ritualization is first and foremost a strategy for the construction of certain types of power relationships effective within particular social organizations. Download Full PDF Package. or. Most attempts to define ritual do so by setting up a universal, and therefore incomplete, definition of ritual. A focus on activity itself as the framework within which to understand ritual activity illuminates the complex nature of power relations” (197). She then introduces her approach, based on the idea of ritualization, which involves analyzing how certain social actions differentiate themselves from others. In this volume, Bell re-examines the issues, methods, and ramifications of our interest in ritual by concentrating on anthropology, sociology, and the history of religions. In other words, ideologies exist only in concrete historical forms in specific relations to other ideologies” (191). “It is important to emphasize a conclusion implicit in the many examples cited so far: ritual systems do not function to regulate or control the systems of social relations’, they. Annual Reviews of Anthropology 44:329-45. real meaningfulness), it simultaneously constructs and legitimates that method of scrutiny” (51). A short summary of this paper. It is in ritual—as practices that act upon the actions of others, as the mute interplay of complex strategies within a field structured by engagements of power, as the arena for prescribed sequences of repetitive movements of the body that simultaneously constitute the body, the person, and the macro- and micronetworks of power—that we can see a fundamental strategy of power. This makes including ritual as objective data instead of analytic tool problematic, and it is hard to prevent a slippage from the latter to the former (13); after Kuhn and Foucault it is problematic to simply suggest ritual is a neutral category by recourse to claims that ritual is merely an analytic tool (14). Ritual Theory, Ritual Practice, Catherine Bell's sweeping and seminal work on the subject, helped legitimize the field. Bell opens with examples from Milton Singer and Geertz which she uses to argue that the theorist imposes his thought pattern on ritual (30-31), She lays out the main argument up front: “Most simply, we might say, ritual is to the symbols it dramatizes as action is to thought; on a second level, ritual integrates thought and action; and on a third level, a focus on ritual performances integrates, Bell goes on to show the circular logic that results from theories that start by differentiating thought and action and build layers of homologies (32). Ritual Theory, Ritual Practice, Catherine Bell's sweeping and seminal work on the subject, helped legitimize the field.In this volume, Bell re-examines the issues, methods, and ramifications of our interest in ritual by concentrating on anthropology, sociology, and the history of religions. This manner of producing a ritualized agent, as I will argue next, can be seen to be the basic and distinctive strategy of so-called ritual behavior” (106-7). Ritual Theory. Producing a ritualized body, one that has a “sense” of ritual and works to shape the sociocultural environment so that it has control, is the implicit ends of ritualization. In ritualization, power is not external to its workings; it exists only insofar as it is constituted with and through the lived body, which is both the body of society and the social body. “The deployment of ritualization, consciously or unconsciously, is the deployment of a particular construction of power relationships, a particular relationship of domination, consent, and resistance. Ritualization as a strategic way of acting does not see the social agent’s projection of this environment or his or her reembodiment of the sets of schemes constitutive of it. 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