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Pierre Déléage

This article develops an epidemiological approach to the analysis of ritual discourse, comparing three distinct genres of Amazonian ritual chants: Wayana, Sharanahua, and Ingarikó. The aim is not to identify the inherent properties of chants, nor to establish ideal types of ritual context (initiation, shamanism, prophetism), but to analyze the different factors affecting the stabilization of the heterogeneous elements of ritual traditions. First, I identify the different procedures (order transfer, parallelism, intersemioticity, and inscription) that stabilize content. Then, assuming that the spread of ritual chants depends on an institutional apparatus, I explore the chants’ rules of distribution and the types of legitimizing authority involved. Finally, I show how the combined analysis of these different factors offers us a new way of understanding ritual innovation.

Open access

Sensory Perception of Rock Art in East Siberia and the Far East

Soviet Archeological “Discoveries” and Indigenous Evenkis

Donatas Brandišauskas

nonexistent rituals published by early ethnographers. At the same time, their findings, processes of documentation, and personal perceptions were also shaped by their sensual experiences. Various hardships related to site exploration and the respect shown to

Open access

Narratives of the Invisible

Autobiography, Kinship, and Alterity in Native Amazonia

Vanessa Elisa Grotti and Marc Brightman

societies outside Amazonia ( Chaumeil 1983 ; Eliade 1964 ; Harner 1973) . In native Amazonia, a genre of ritual autobiography exists that combines mythic narratives and stories of personal experience in performances of dreams and visions, and the analysis

Open access

Non “Religious” Knowing in Pilgrimages to Sacred Sites

Greek Cypriots’ “return” Pilgrimages to the Monastery of Apostolos Andreas (Cyprus)

Evgenia Mesaritou

Although pilgrimages are often directed toward what are conventionally seen as “religious” sites, religious and ritual forms of knowledge may not necessarily be the only, or even the most prominent, forms in their workings. Such types of knowledge

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Fusion and Reform

The Potential for Identity Fusion to Reduce Recidivism and Improve Reintegration

Harvey Whitehouse and Robin Fitzgerald

and measured by group psychologists ( Swann et al. 2009 ). But theories of its underlying causes have been largely inspired by anthropological studies of ritual and social cohesion ( Whitehouse and Lanman 2014 ), especially the theory of ‘modes of

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Commitment, Convergence, Alterity

Muslim-Christian Comparison and the Politics of Distinction in the Netherlands

Daan Beekers

for spiritual experiences of feeling close to God, especially—but not only—through salat (ritual prayer). Some of them also criticized Salafi teachings for being “too rigid.” Yet in very similar ways, the young Muslims and Christians I worked with

Open access


Tower block “failures”? High-rise anthropology

Constance Smith and Saffron Woodcraft

( Goody 1957 ; Parsons 1969 ). Perhaps most famously, Clifford Geertz (1957) took a “failed” funeral ritual as a point of departure for his critique of functionalism and the need for new ways to account for social change. Ritual failures have continued

Open access

Circling around the really Real in Iran

Ethnography of Muharram laments among Shi'i volunteer militants in the Middle East

Younes Saramifar

landscapes of cries For Iranian Shi'is, Muharram, the first month of the lunar calendar, is the occasion for their most poignant rituals and moment of religious expression. While most (Sunni) Muslims celebrate Muharram as the beginning of a New Year, Shi

Open access

Joseph Bristley and Elizabeth Turk

working in a variety of fields. Joseph Bristley University of Cambridge Reference Bernstein , A. 2013 . Religious Bodies Politic: Rituals of Sovereignty in Buryat Buddhism . Chicago : University of Chicago Press . Tomas Matza, Shock Therapy

Open access

Clothing and Colours in Early Islam

Adornment (Aesthetics), Symbolism and Differentiation

Hadas Hirsch

religious rituals, and especially to the fifth pillar of Islam. Another support for the religious ritual prestige of black is the fact that even nowadays, the special cover of the Ka ‘ba ( kiswa ) is black with embroidery in gold. 9 In modern nomadic