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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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Toing and Froing the Social

Don Handelman

Understandably, one would think, the social is the heartland of ritual studies. What is ritual, if not the Durkheimian effervescence of the social? Still, a number of the essays in this volume move towards the borders of the social. Perhaps this has occurred because the contributors were asked to think of ritual in its own right, thereby freeing them from the so deeply embedded anthropological stricture that ritual is social because it must be attached to, relate to, or service some group. Ritual is created by groups and expressive of groups, otherwise it is insignificant. This complicity of ritual and groupness implicitly demands that rite have meaning or function for the social, the raison d’être of ritual’s existence. Thus, the structures, dynamics, and processes of ritual are immediately oriented to the social. Rarely considered is that taking this tack eliminates other possibilities in which thinking on ritual ignores the borders of the social.

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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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The Algebra of Souls

Ontological Multiplicity and the Transformation of Animism in Southwest China

Mireille Mazard

burial plot to open the path for the deceased into the ‘shadow realm’, or mhade . 2 In the ritual unfolding of a Nusu funeral, the yãn-hla (soul or doppelgänger) emerges from latency into full personhood, supplanting the corporeal existence of the

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Don Handelman and Galina Lindquist

We have discussed ritual between us for a long time—Don often from his suspicions of the canonical understanding of ritual as representation, Galina through her studies of healing and therapeutic efficacy

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A Purging Presence

The Dog in Zoroastrian Tradition

Mahnaz Moazami

obnoxious in certain aspects. Death in Zoroastrianism In Zoroastrian religion the body in its pristine state is pure, unless and until by some means it later becomes ritually polluted. But once it dies, Nasu- (Av. nasao- f., nasuš- n.; MPers. nas

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The Art of Capture

Hidden Jokes and the Reinvention of Animistic Ontologies in Southwest China

Katherine Swancutt

the animistic transformations of material objects and sacrificial animals used to lure spirits, ghosts, and human souls into their ritual purview ( Swancutt 2015: 136–138 ). On another level, my case studies suggest that the concept of animism commands

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Battle of Cosmologies

The Catholic Church, Adat, and ‘Inculturation’ among Northern Lio, Indonesia

Signe Howell

council of ‘priest-leaders’ ( mosa laki ) wields political, religious, and ritual authority. The priest-leaders’ authority is grounded in the cosmogenic past, manifested and perpetuated through aristocratic patrilineal descent and the prescriptive alliance

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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

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The Death Throes of Sacrificed Chicken

Triggering Critical Reflexive Stances on Ritual Action in Togo

Marie Daugey

This article aims to shed light on a divination episode, which most blood sacrifices begin with in many West African societies, by examining how this ritual practice is carried out among the Kabye of northern Togo and by analyzing it in relation to