Part Four: Comparison and the Analysis of Religion and Ritual. (4:25-5:20 p.m.)

< --- Part 3: Comparison and the Analysis of Religion and Violence             Part 1: Comparison in the Study of Mediterranean Late Antiquity.--> 


Speakers : 

Jens Kreinath - Wichita State University, Department of Anthropology

Michael Houseman - École Practique des Hautes Études, Department of Anthropology and Department of African Religions



 Jens Kreinath.

"Mimesis, Interrituality, and the Comparative Study of Rituals" 

To facilitate a comparative approach to the study of ritual, it is of major importance to develop critical concepts that facilitate the analysis of specific types of cultural performances or public events that are called “ritual.” In order to do that it is necessary to establish a framework that allows us to analyze the uniqueness of these events and performances starting with the indexical notions of space, time, and subject. With the help of this kind of an analytical framework it becomes possible to elaborate comparative parameters that allow for the analysis and comparison of rituals on an empirical basis. In light of the diversity of empirical data emerging from the study of rituals, it is necessary to demarcate methodologically the difference between empirical data and analytical concepts. This contribution proposes ‘mimesis’ and ‘interrituality’ as such analytical concepts to study Christian and Muslim rituals of saint veneration in southern Turkey. 

Suggested Readings for Jens Kreinath

NEW: Kreinath, Jens, Inter-rituality as a Framework of Analysis: A New Approach to the Study of Interreligious Encounters and the Economies of Ritual, posted on PluRel - en blogg om religion og samfunn., on September 19, 2014.


Michael Houseman 

"'Ritual' and other modes of participation as tools for comparison"

A possible basis for the comparative study of rituals might consist in recognizing that most empirical performative events are not pure instances either of ritual, spectacle, play or everyday interaction, but a combination of several of these, organized with respect to each other in specific ways. In this regard, such events can be described in terms of the alternation, embedding, juxtaposition, etc. of various "building blocks", whose particular articulation, in a given event, is what provides that event with its distinctive efficacy. To the degree that this is the case, the object of analysis is to determine which "building blocks" are used and how they relate to each other in particular cases, the goal of comparative study being to identify recurrent patterns of interrelationship. However, in order to do this one has to have a fairly reductive definition of the building blocks in question, namely "ritual," "play," "everyday interaction," "spectacle," or the like.


Suggested Readings for Jens Kreinath and Michael Houseman 

Handelman, Don. 2006. “Conceptual Alternative to ‘Ritual.” In Theorizing Rituals: Issues, Topics, Approaches, Concepts, edited by Jens Kreinath, Jan Snoek, and Michael Stausberg, 37-49. Leiden: Brill. 

Snoek, Jan. “‘Defining’ Rituals.” In Theorizing Rituals: Issues, Topics, Approaches, Concepts, edited by Jens Kreinath, Jan Snoek, and Michael Stausberg, 3-14. Leiden: Brill. 


< --- Part 3: Comparison and the Analysis of Religion and Violence             Part 1: Comparison in the Study of Mediterranean Late Antiquity.--> 

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