shift 4. Ritual - 04/10/2019 ¢  Ritual 2: Ritual Studies 37 Ritual Studies...

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Transcript of shift 4. Ritual - 04/10/2019 ¢  Ritual 2: Ritual Studies 37 Ritual Studies...

  • • How does Nye define “ritual”? How can the same action be a ritual sometimes but not others?

    • What shift took place in ritual studies during the 1990s? Illustrate your answer by using a theory of ritual in relation to any specific action.

    1

    4. Ritual

    2

    Today

    • Ritual 1. What is ritual?

    2. Ritual studies 3. Theories of ritual

    3

    • RLG101H Facilitated Study Groups ➡ Eligible for course participation marks

    ➡ Run by former RLG101H students

    • When + where: ➡ Mondays at 1–2pm in DV3131

    ➡ Tuesdays at 12–1pm in MN3140

    ➡ Wednesdays 1–2pm in MN2130

    4

    FSGs

  • • Due October 11 ➡ Available on Quercus

    ➡ Find 1 or 2 partners!

    ➡ Pick a place to visit!

    • Also file with advice for making (and thinking about) observations

    5

    Field Research Contract

    • Due October 22 • Instructions coming very soon! • 4 paragraphs in total:

    1. Belief (revised!)

    2. Ritual

    3. Text

    4. Reflection

    Film Analysis

    6

    Anonymous Feedback

    • Nice note from “DepressedCollegeKid420” • Song request • Please slow down ➡ When was it too fast?

    ➡ Don’t write what’s on the 
 slides!

    ➡ Note: slide #s

    7 8

    Belief?

  • 9

    1. Meaning of “belief”?

    2. Theories of belief

    3. Belief + the study of religion

    Belief

    10

    1. What is ritual?

    2. Ritual studies

    3. Theories of ritual

    Ritual

    Ritual 1: What is “Ritual”?

    11 12

  • 13 14

    15 16

  • 17

    What is Ritual?

    • Ritual = stuff people DO ➡ But which stuff?? (Nye p. 129–33)

    ➡ Not necessarily repeated 
 (e.g., rite of passage)

    ➡ Many definitions!

    18

    • Nye: ritual as “meaningful action” 
 (p. 133–34)

    ➡ Meaning is not about the act itself

    ➡ About relation between act and person ➡ Same action might be meaningful for one

    person/time/place but not others

    ➡ Examples?

    19

    What is Ritual? John Beattie

    • Instrumental vs. expressive action (p. 134-5) ➡ “Literal” vs. “symbolic” action

    ➡ Expressive/symbolic action = “ritual”

    ➡ Some actions may be instrumental OR expressive, some actions may be both

    ➡ Driving a car; cutting/growing hair

    ➡ Wearing/removing shoes; washing dishes

    20

  • 21 22

    23

    Today’s Song

    • “New Shoes” by Paolo Nutini (2006)

    24

  • “New Shoes” Woke up cold one Tuesday, 


    I’m looking tired and feeling quite sick, 
 I felt like there was something missing 


    in my day to day life

    Hey, I put some new shoes on, 
 And suddenly everything is right, 


    I said, hey, I put some new shoes on and 
 everybody’s smiling, it’s so inviting, 


    Oh, short on money,but long on time,
 Slowly strolling in the sweet sunshine

    25 26

    27

    Islamic Cultural Centre 
 of Quebec City

    28

    Ordinary items used in religious rituals?

  • 29 30

    Rev. Dawn Leger (Anglican) 
 Christ Church in Stouffville, ON

    Eucharist

    31 32

    Eid al-Fitr (Tajikistan)

  • Langar (Sikhism)

    • Vegetarian food service in Gurdwara • Free to all • Principles of equality / no discrimination • “the light of God is in all hearts”


    (Guru Granth Sahib)

    • Golden Temple (Amritsar): feed approx. 80,000 people / day (on average)

    33 34

    35

    What is Ritual?

    • Ritual = stuff people DO (i.e., actions) ➡ But which stuff??

    ➡ Many definitions!

    • Ritual as meaningful (or expressive) action ➡ Meaning is relational ➡ Meaning depends on the people and the

    context

    36

  • Ritual 2: Ritual Studies

    37

    Ritual Studies

    • Ritual studies challenged academic assumption that religion was only about belief ➡ Focus on 


    ACTIONS

    38

    Ritual Studies

    • Crisis in the 1990s (Nye p. 148) • If so many things can be called “ritual,” is

    this really a useful term?

    • Change in focus: ritual theories used for interpretation, not as description ➡ Theories as tools for understanding

    actions, and not for labelling them as “ritual” (or not “ritual”)

    39

    Old question: 
 “Is this action a ritual?”

    New question: 
 “What does this action mean?”

    40

  • Ritual Studies 1. Ritual studies showed that actions were

    important in religion

    ➡ Religion was not only about belief

    2. Shift in focus within ritual studies

    ➡ From “Is this action a ritual?” to “What does this action mean?” 


    41

    Ritual 3: Theories of Ritual

    42

    Theories of Ritual

    • Emile Durkheim (society) • Sigmund Freud (neurosis) • Harvey Whitehouse (memory) • Malory Nye (power) • Arnold van Gennep (rites of passage)

    43

    Theories of Ritual

    • Many theories focus on the FUNCTION of ritual (not “content”)

    ➡ Not about (symbolic) meaning 
 (e.g., bread = body of Christ)

    ➡ About the effect of the action(s) on participants

    44

  • Emile Durkheim

    • Ritual binds people together (p. 141-2) ➡ Ritual does not just express relationships:

    “the performance of rituals actually creates those relationships”

    ➡ Regular attendance at religious site (church, mosque, synagogue, temple, etc.)

    ➡ Other examples?

    ➡ Lion King? 45 46

    Hakuna Matata

    47 48

  • 49

    Sigmund Freud

    • Ritual = neurosis (p. 143) ➡ Repetition brings comfort; avoids real

    problem(s)

    ➡ Might be true sometimes (not always): but need to know context

    ➡ Examples?

    ➡ Lion King?

    50

    Hakuna Matata

    51 52

  • Harvey Whitehouse

    • Rituals and memory (p. 143-4) 1. “Imagistic” mode: high intensity 


    (dramatic and/or traumatic)

    ❖ E.g., wedding, funeral, assault

    2. “Doctrinal” mode: mundane repetition (routine)

    ❖ E.g., daily prayer, national anthem

    53 54

    Imagistic

    55

    Doctrinal

    56

    Imagistic

  • 57

    Doctrinal Imagistic

    58

    59

    Doctrinal

    60

    Doctrinal

  • Power

    • Rituals involve power relations (p. 149) ➡ Can express power or challenge power ➡ (Note: this is not Nye’s theory)

    ➡ Royal wedding, Indigenous rites of passage

    ➡ NFL: taking a knee

    ➡ Elections?

    ➡ Lion King? 61 62

    Power

    63

    Power

    64

    Power