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Aidarbek Kochkunov

This article analyses one of the most important components of Kyrgyz culture - the tradition and ritual of hospitality. Features of traditional and modern hospitality are examined on the basis of literary sources and the author's fieldwork. The hospitality ritual and the norms associated with guests are discussed first in their traditional and then in their modern aspects. The author argues that ethnic specificities have been maintained on a large scale. Gender and age in the organisation of meals, as well as the prestige of meat dishes, continue to have traditional character, and the importance of hospitality has been imparted to younger generations. The author concludes that the interaction of innovations and traditions constitute the main content, development and present characteristics of Kyrgyz customs and hospitality rituals.

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The Burial Rituals of the Khakass People

Main Factors of Evolution

Larisa Anzhiganova and Margarita Archimacheva

Translator : Tatiana Argounova-Low

, the burial ritual is most prominent, for it is characterized by the symbolism of life and death, significant notions for any groups of people. We define the “burial rituals” as a system of actions carried out from the moment of a person’ s death

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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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Mourning Palestine

Death and Grief Rituals

Aref Abu-Rabia and Nibal Khalil

This article presents various mourning rituals and death rites as they are practised in Palestine. It focuses on differences in the mourning experience among fellahin and Bedouin Arabs but also shows certain parallels in their mourning and grieving customs. The article provides information on the prescribed set of rituals that Palestinians perform, beginning with how the body is treated and the way that it is prepared for burial. Combinations of mourning practices, which vary from rending one's garments to throwing earth on one's head, provide socially sanctioned expressions of grief and sorrow. Mourning practices differ between women and men: the former lament loudly and scratch their faces, while among the latter tears are neither encouraged nor welcomed. Parallels can be seen in these rituals with mourning for Palestine.

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Les rites d'âshurâ dans un village de l'Iran contemporain

Révélateur privilégié d'un monde rural en mutation

Anne-Sophie Vivier-Muresan

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.

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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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The Anthropology of Literature in France

Birth and Becoming of a New Field of Studies

Laurent Sebastian Fournier and Jean-Marie Privat

In this article we present the ongoing theoretical discussions concerning the relations between anthropology and literature in France. We recall the historical relationship of a part of French anthropology and the world of literature. We then try to show how the anthropology of literature began by using the model of the anthropology of art, mainly concentrating on literary works as individual creations specific to the style or the cosmology of a given writer. We explore a new perspective on the analysis of the social and symbolic meanings of literary worlds, putting the emphasis on what is called ‘ethnocriticism’ in France. In order to understand better the influence of literature and literary motives on contemporary cultural practices, and to grasp the relation of literary works with the outside world and with everyday life, we propose to build up a comparative approach of literary works and rituals. Through different novels or other literary works, we address possible developments of contemporary anthropologies of literature in France.

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The Perceptibility of the Invisible Cosmology

Religious Rituals and Embodied Spirituality among the Bahraini Shi‘a

El-Sayed El-Aswad

This article analyses the relationship between the seen and the unseen in the cosmology and practices of Bahraini Shi'a. Rather than contrasting the visible and the invisible, the study delineates the hierarchical relations between them, within a whole or cosmology, as reflected in various discursive and non-discursive actions that are supported by the religious beliefs of Bahraini Shi'a. Issues of the Hidden Imam, concealment, dissimulation and other unseen dimensions of the cosmos are discussed. The article finds that the Shi'a construct the invisible in their social world by using visible ways of creatively enacting their hidden thoughts and beliefs, as represented in their religious discourses, rituals and body symbolism. Their belief in a divine higher power provides a source of emotional, spiritual and socio-political empowerment.

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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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Negotiating between Shi’a and Catholic Rituals in Iran

A Case Study of Filipina Converts and Their Adult Children

Ashraf Zahedi

Religious rituals, while comforting for believers, may be uncomfortable for those who do not share their manifold meanings. Catholic Filipinas who marry Muslim Iranian men face mandatory conversion to Islam, necessitating ongoing negotiations between Christianity and Islam. My research suggests that these Filipinas held their first religion dear while participating in – for them – unpleasant Shi’a Muslims rituals. Their Filipino/Iranian children, familiar from birth with Shi’a Islam, felt at home with both religions, no matter which one they chose for themselves. The discussion of converts’ perceptions of Shi’a rituals contributes to the literature on transnational marriages and marriage migration.