Symbolic meaning and representational and reflexive perspectives remain dominant orientations in the analysis of ritual. While these must be crucial, this essay argues that a focus on the perceptual dynamics of rite, especially as these are located in ritual aesthetics, may expand an understanding of the force of rite. The discussion develops critically upon Victor Turner’s seminal work, suggesting ways in which ritual analyses may be redirected. The related concepts of dynamics and virtuality (distinguished from the cyber-technological kind) are developed, indicating that these may be critical for understanding how rites change or transform the situations to which they are directed. Ritual as a dynamic in virtuality that has no essential or necessary relation to the ordinary realities that surround it may, because of this fact, be greatly empowered as a force that can pragmatically intervene in ordinary realities.
Beyond Representation and Meaning
Wenyi Zhang and F.K.L. Chit Hlaing
This article outlines three historical transitions in Kachin chieftaincy in Burma and China. Picking up where the three main theoretical models in the literature leave off (the models of Leach, Nugent and Friedman), we put forward an analysis of Kachin sociopolitical organization using new China-based material. We compare this with Burma-based material in the literature, and re-analyse the interactions between the internal dynamics of Kachin chieftaincy and the politico-economic systems in Southwestern China and Northern Burma. We argue that Kachin chieftaincy in Burma and in China shared the same logic, although this logic was manifested differently in the two countries. We offer new material for understanding the lowland polities and upland chieftaincy in Southwestern China and mainland Southeast Asia.
Between customary law and state law
This article considers factors that have effected and influenced the continuity of the customary law named the Kanun of Lek Dukagjini in some areas of Albanian and Kosovo. It draws on ethnographic data on the border area villages between Albania and Kosovo to discuss the dynamics and tensions that are created between state and non-state law vis-à-vis justice in highly complex and problematic social, economic, and political contexts. Customary law and state law seem to be two conflicting legal ideologies. However, the article considers everyday settings where people make use of both legal systems in order to regulate matters especially related to property issues. The new legal realities create around property ownership imply new type of relations vis-à-vis family and kinship structures which oscillate between the two systems.
The Beijing Upheaval of 1989 Revisited
Rilly Chen and Fei Yan
This article provides a multidimensional approach to understanding the interactional dynamics of political contention. By reexamining the highly influential case of the Beijing student movement in 1989 with newly published memoirs from top party leaders and central student figures of the movement, we show more clearly that the escalating conflict between the government and protesters and their nuanced interplay grew, developed, and took on its own identity as the process evolved. It was the increasingly boisterous divisions within both the Communist Party and the student body itself, coupled with their close interactional relationship and interdependence, that resulted in a violent outcome that neither party had envisaged or intended. This finding suggests that multidimensional interactions may have triggered causal processes that escalated both the scale and the influence of the mobilization.
Mapping Science, Technology, and Medicine in and around Late Imperial China
The project “Individual Itineraries and the Circulation of Scientific and Technical Knowledge in China (16th–20th Centuries)” has shed light on the impact of individuals’ geographic mobility on the spatial dynamics of knowledge in late imperial China, where the bureaucratic system dictated a specific pattern of mobility for the elites. The question was also studied for other socioprofessional groups—craftsmen and medical doctors—and for the actors of the globalization of knowledge—Christian missionaries, colonial doctors, and the Chinese students. The studies conducted shed light on a variety of places, social milieus, fields of knowledge, and on the conditions of travel of technical knowledge—including sericulture, water conservancy, medicine, natural history, and statistics—against the background of the expertise such as classical scholarship—the dominant body of knowledge, sanctioned by imperial examination—circulated among the elite.
Jens Kreinath and Refika Sariönder
for these dynamics, we paid close attention in our description of the cem to those moments, contexts, and configurations of ritual framing, within which the performance of ritual acts and utterances becomes reflexive ( Handelman 2004: 14 ; Kapferer
Renovation, Relocation, Remediation, and Repositioning Museums
This article examines the changing relationship between museums and heritage using a number of Dutch cases. It argues that if heritage was once defined as being museological in character, this order of precedence is under revision as museums themselves are recursively transformed by heritage dynamics. Such dynamics include the display of renovation work-in-progress; the enhancement of historical collections by relocation to prominent new sites and buildings; the transformation of old industrial sites into new art and public spaces; and a mutual reinforcement between the urban landscape setting and the institutions that compose it by virtual means. Postcolonial heritage practices worldwide enfold museums in a further set of transformatory dynamics: these include claims on cultural property that was removed in colonial times, but also the strategic transformation of cultural property into heritage for didactic purposes. Museums are subject to the recursive dynamics of heritage, which are turning them inside out.
Interactional Foundations and Prospective Dimensions
The extended case is inherently processual, continuously becoming prospective history. Therefore, the dynamics of the extended case are necessarily temporal; there is no separation between the practice of social life and micro history. Here I ground the emerging temporality of the extended case in interpersonal interaction, in the dynamics of the creation and emergence of micro forms that Erving Goffman called encounters. An extended case emerges from a series of encounters as it moves into its own futures. Therefore, the extended case opens time/space to the practice of process, to the foregrounding of practice as intrinsically dynamic. The prospective perspective of the extended case pays close attention to how social life is practiced into existence as emergent phenomena, without assuming or presuming how social order holds together and falls apart. The extended case argues for a dynamic rather than a structural anthropology.
Niki Frantzeskaki, Jill Slinger, Heleen Vreugdenhil, and Els van Daalen
This article presents the reframing of flood management practices in the light of social-ecological systems governance. It presents an exploratory theoretical analysis of social-ecological systems (SES) governance complemented by insights from case study analysis. It identifies a mismatch between the goals of the underlying ecosystem paradigms and their manifestation in management practice. The Polder Altenheim case study is an illustration of the consequences of flood management practices that do not match their underlying paradigm. The article recommends two institutional arrangements that will allow institutions to increase their capacity to co-evolve with SES dynamics: (a) institutional arrangements to ensure and enable openness in actor participation, and (b) institutional arrangements to enable updating of the management practices in response to SES dynamics.
Catherine Butler, Karen Anne Parkhill, Fiona Shirani, Karen Henwood, and Nick Pidgeon
It is widely recognized that a major challenge in low carbon transitioning is the reduction of energy consumption. This implies a significant level of transformation in our ways of living, meaning the challenge is one that runs deep into the fabric of our personal lives. In this article we combine biographical research approaches with concepts from Bourdieu's practice theory to develop understanding of processes of change that embed particular patterns of energy consumption. Through an analysis of “case biographies” we show the value of biographical methods for understanding the dynamics of energy demand.