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Ritual and commemoration in contemporary Russia

State-church relationships and the vernacularization of the politics of memory

Tobias Köllner

Since state atheism was abandoned in the 1990s, the Russian Federation entered what can be called a postsecular phase. Religion, formerly limited to the private sphere, reappeared in the public and underwent an astonishing religious revival. During the time of my fieldwork in 2006/2007, a tendency to favor the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) and to facilitate its return to the public reached its climax. In this article I draw attention to how the political, the secular, and the religious are interconnected and allow for new vernacular forms of legitimating power and authority. One example is the introduction of new public holidays and public rituals. They connect local and national narratives and relate to ideas about the communality of the Russian people. They create new forms of a divine kinship, which draw heavily on religious and national symbols and merge the sacred and the profane.

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Benjamin Grant Purzycki

Tyvan conceptions of spirit masters, their attributed domains of knowledge, and their places of devotion show signs of an adaptive function. Drawing from current research in the cognitive and evolutionary ecological studies of religion, I analyze interview data collected in the Tyva Republic during the summer of 2009 and construct an interpretation for why the ritual stone cairn (ovaa) tradition evolved and persists in Central Asia. As spirit masters in Tyva are acutely concerned with sustained costs and most ovaa that people pass are on territories of non-kin, I argue that because of the ecology of the region, the ovaa practice evolved to provide places to signal solidarity to others. Given the logic of spirit masters' concerns and ritual practice at cairns and the ecological context in which they operate, these components of traditional Tyvan religion are adaptive insofar as they foster cooperation and social bonds.

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Changing Colors of Money

Tips, Commissions, and Ritual in Christian Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

Jackie Feldman

The movement of money in Christian pilgrimage is a profound mirror of cultural classifications. By examining tips, commissions, and souvenir purchases in Holy Land pilgrimages, I show how the transfer of monies activates a series of multiple, complex relationships between Jewish guides, Palestinian drivers, and Christian pilgrims. I identify the 'colors'—or moral values—of salaries, tips, and commissions that change hands as 'white', 'black', or 'gray' monies and correlate these colors with particular discourses and degrees of transparency. I then illustrate how prayer, rituals, and the citation of scripture may 'bleach' these monies, transforming tips into 'love offerings' and souvenir purchases into aids to spiritual development or charity to local communities, while fostering relationships and conveying messages across religious and cultural lines. Far from being a universal 'acid' that taints human relationships, pilgrimage monies demonstrate how, through the exchange of goods, people are able to create and maintain spiritual values.

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Sonya Atalay, Nika Collison Jisgang, Te Herekiekie Herewini, Eric Hollinger, Michelle Horwood, Robert W. Preucel, Anthony Shelton, and Paul Tapsell

Edited by Jennifer Shannon

authors below attest to, transformative work for all who are involved, whether they are from a museum, Indigenous community, or both. Sonya Atalay (Anishinaabe—Ojibwe) University of Massachusetts Amherst Repatriation is healing. Rituals of repatriation

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The Magic of Bureaucracy

Repatriation as Ceremony

Laura Peers

-mail, by publication of decisions, by letter, through formal minuted committee meetings, and by carefully planned face-to-face visits; it follows institutional policy and cultural protocol. Such actions are performed carefully, formally—ritually. While the

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Galina Kharyuchi

Translator : Tatiana Argounova-Low

rituals was published in Atlas Arkhangel’skoi gubernii 1797 goda (The Atlas of the Arkhangelsk Gubernia of 1797). The atlas contains first mentioning of the Vaygach Island as “a public place of sacrifice” ( Baryshev 2012: 331 ). In 1855 Archimandrite

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Demotion as Value

Rank Infraction among the Ngadha in Flores, Indonesia

Olaf H. Smedal

different values—even or perhaps just precisely opposite ones—are dominant in separate social spheres. Obvious candidates for such differently valorized social spheres would be the ritual and the secular, the religious and the economic, and men’s activities

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Understanding the Zār

An African-Iranian Healing Dance Ritual

William O. Beeman

This article explores the structure and meaning of the Zār ceremony as carried out throughout the Persian Gulf. This ceremony is mirrored by similar ones throughout North and East Africa, suggesting that the Zār may have resulted from cultural diffusion along historical trade routes. The Zār practitioners, the bābā and the māmā, must cultivate extensive skills in musical performance, movement and coordination in order to affect a palliative relief for persons affected by spirit ‘winds’ that inhabit them, causing physical and emotional distress. The Zār ceremony is an important method of non-allopathic treatment for emotional disorders that might elsewhere be treated through psychiatry in clinical settings. Practitioners see it as compatible with Islam, though not a strictly Islamic practice.

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Joseph Long

This research report gives an ethnographic account of libations and ritual offerings in the shamanic culture of contemporary Western Buriats. Common ritual motifs are identified between libations in everyday practice, annual rites at the family hearth, and large-scale tailgan rituals. It is suggested that such practices mediate reciprocity between neighbors and reconstitute obligations of mutual help within kin groups. Finally, it is proposed that the vitality of the ritual complex today lies in its fundamental articulation of the principles of reciprocity and belonging in the context of rapid out-migration from the region and the atomization of kin groups.

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Introduction

Why Ritual in Its Own Right? How So?

Don Handelman

Calvin, who introduces this collection of essays on ritual in its own right, understands ritual as well as many anthropologists. Calvin is dramatizing thematics that I am trying to avoid. Complaining about the peanut butter, spoiled because his mother did not observe the proper ritual for scooping it out, he is telling us: do the ritual correctly. It exists because it has a function—control. Perform control in your ritual, and you will have control in your life. The ritual of how to scoop out peanut butter is a representation of life. Living produces its own symbols, its own reflections, and these are the ritual, existing to enact themes of living—here that of control. The ritual has meaning, otherwise why the argument between Calvin and his mother over its importance for living? For Calvin, scooping out peanut butter is akin to a Geertzian model of and model for living—you scoop peanut butter the way you live your life. One thing is certain: to understand the peanut butter ritual, one begins with life, not with a jar of peanut butter. First, though, let’s have a look at the peanut butter in the jar …