This article is an ethnographic exploration of three topics regarding the practice of religion in contemporary Kyrgyzstan that provides insights into the spiritual life of Kyrgyz people in local communities. The topics are features of religiosity as expressed in rituals, the nature of personal and shared beliefs inherent in the performance of ceremonies, and the influence of religious identity on relationships among family, kin groups and communities. Through extensive research about religion and ritual in various areas of Kyrgyzstan, changes over time are examined. Although at times the differences among people adhering to more traditional versus the more newly emerging Islamic approaches to death ceremonies and monuments may cause conflict among relatives, in general such rituals and markers provide opportunities for social integration and common identity.
Aidarbek Sulaimankulovich Kochkunov
In the past decade there has been a shift of focus from individual archaeological sites to an approach that incorporates the dynamic interplay of land, climate, society, economy, ritual and technical innovation. A growing understanding of past climates and environments, coupled with the use of satellite technology and other means of remote sensing, has opened new avenues of interpretation. Classic problems, such as the origins and spread of agrarian societies, have benefited from an array of new scientific methods, and there is increasing attention to social and ritual aspects of society.
Study of Slovenian Transition
Contemporary political rituals have been a neglected topic in Slovenian ethnology and anthropology. This article presents celebrations of Slovenian statehood in the period of transition - from 1991 to the present - which were being organised in the Republic Square (Trg Republike) and cultural centre Cankarjev dom in Ljubljana, and have been outlining the components of Slovenian political mythology and offering solutions for the new national future. The analysis is focused on the holders of political, cultural and media systems. It attempts to disclose the significance and use of the concept of intercultural dialogue in contemporary Slovenian society by exploring the relationship between ritual and its social background.
Teyyam in Malabar
This article focuses on Muttappan and the practice of teyyam in Kerala, South India. The growing power and increasing presence of this ritual practice and its transition from traditional sacred spaces into modern public spheres, including cyberspace, are analyzed in order to understand its inner dynamics and potentialities. Engaged with the quotidian aspects of human existence, the male divinity Muttappan-teyyam is a being of the moment who overcomes any bounding or hierarchizing force in his path. I argue that Muttappan's modernity has a decentering and destabilizing fluidity that appeals to all social classes. The ritual practice has put the arts and the state at odds, with the latter co-opting it to serve the state's purposes through tourism and spectacles that encourage national solidarity.
Révélateur privilégié d'un monde rural en mutation
This article aims to analyse the evolution of âshurâ Shi’ite rituals in an Iranian village, in light of the socio-economic transformations of the last thirty years. Studying these rites as a fait social total, we show that they reflect many aspects of local life. Thus, the increasing dependence of the village on the urban regional centre, the reorganisation of the ties between neighbouring but antagonistic localities, the decreasing status of the great landowners and the increasing social homogenisation, the development of rural exodus and recent national history (the Iran-Iraq war, the establishment of the Islamic Republic and the development of religious reformism) – all have had an influence on the organisation of âshurâ ceremonies. The many functions of this ritual appear then more clearly, manifesting the manner of regional integration, reaffirming internal hierarchies and communal identity, and showing the ever-increasing dependence on the urban world.
An Alternative Genealogy of <i>The Elementary Forms of Religious Life</i>
Sondra L. Hausner
This article argues that, although we think of Australian tribal ritual as Durkheim’s source material for his masterwork The Elementary Forms of Religious Life, we must also consider the extensive Indological scholarship on which he draws – and with which he debates – as critical inspirations for the text. His extensive engagement with his nephew, Marcel Mauss, whose earlier work, Sacrifice, with Henri Hubert, was premised on an analysis of Vedic ritual, would have been one source for his study of religion writ large; Elementary Forms also takes up in detail the work of Max Müller, among other Indologists, whose work was well known and widely engaged with in the French and broader European intellectual context of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This article argues that the Indological comparative lens was key to Durkheim’s own approach as he worked to articulate the relationship between religion and society; in contrast to the philologists, he argued for the primacy of practice over language in ritual action.
The Place of Destruction in the Organization of Social Life, Which Means Hierarchy
Frederick H. Damon
piece of unleavened bread—becomes something else: a victim, an offering, a gift, a scapegoat. The instruments of that transformation are always dramaturgical. There is always a play, a ritual, to present the meaning … There are always things that, in
Gideon M. Kressel, Sasson Bar-Zvi, and Aref Abu-Rabia
Human beliefs in resurrection and life after death, based on lasting exchanges between earth and heaven that prevail in human societies ubiquitously, are presented here and analysed with regard to the customs and rituals of the Negev Bedouin. The article looks at patterns of the mourning process and the different social functions and outcomes of that process. The influence of mystics and the Bedouin's views on death are discussed. Pre-Islamic burial practices and grave visits that reflect both legend and tradition are shown to be on the verge of change as they collide with proper Islam and modernity.
On the Cultural Politics of Religion and Education
Oddly but tellingly, anthropology has largely treated religion and education separately. Anthropological studies of education have tended to focus on reason and rationality, while those of religion have focused on ritual, belief, magic, and ceremony. Yet there is a missed opportunity, I argue in this essay—one that is perhaps hidden by the history of anthropology itself—for seeing religion and education as folding into one another and at times being indistinguishable. Viewing religion and education as recursively related—including in anthropological and social theory—opens up a conceptual locus and mode for analyzing how the public realm is being newly transformed, and how political orders and governmental regimes emerge, sometimes in accord with, other times in contradistinction to, a 'four-square' model of 'public-education/private-religion' that is associated classically with the modern state.
Anthropological Interlocutions of Sport and Religion
Thomas F. Carter
Religion has been a central object of anthropological inquiry since its earliest days. In contrast, sport has remained an ancillary object of interest at best. Nonetheless, anthropologists have written some provocative analyses that challenge other disciplinary approaches to sport. Principally, those analyses emerged out of anthropological approaches to religion. Concerned with the ways in which anthropology theorizes and analyzes both religion and sport, this article begins by assessing the modern-day myth that 'sport is a religion'. It then compares subject-specific approaches to the relationships between sport and religion. The article then moves to the anthropological focus on ritual as it developed in the study of religion and how those ideas were then applied to analyses of sport. The article concludes with an examination of how the anthropology of sport has moved beyond those initial efforts before discussing various anthropological approaches to sport and religion.