It is this invisible process of ‘homologization’, driven by the implicit presence of an opposition between conceptual and behavioral categories, that begins to construct a persuasive and apparently logical body of discourse” (21). This group runs the risk of analyzing all parts of human life as ritual. “I have not proposed a new theory of ritual because I believe that a new theory of ritual, by definition, would do little to solve the real conundrums that the study of ritual has come up against. Ritual mastery is the ability—not equally shared, desired, or recognized—to (1) take and remake schemes from the shared culture that can strategically nuance, privilege, or transform, (2) deploy them in the formation of a privileged ritual experience, which in turn (3) impresses them in a new form upon agents able to deploy them in a variety of circumstances beyond the circumference of the rite itself” (116). It is argued that ritual practices generate belief and belonging in participants by activating multiple social–psychological mechanisms that interactively create the characteristic outcomes of ritual. In exploring how ritualized ways of acting negotiate authority, self, and society, I attempt to delineate something of the social dynamics by which all activity reproduces and manipulates its own contextual ground” (8). “This book undertakes such an analysis in two ways: first, through a critical reading of how the notion of ritual has been used in the study of religion, society, and culture; second, through an attempt to carve out an approach to ritual activities that is less encumbered by assumptions about thinking and acting and more disclosing of the strategies by which ritualized activities do what they do” (4). To analyze practice in terms of its vision of redemptive hegemony is, therefore, to formulate the unexpressed assumptions that constitute the actor’s strategic understanding of the place, purpose, and trajectory of the act” (85). In this volume, Bell re-examines the issues, methods, and ramifications of our interest in ritual by concentrating on anthropology, sociology, and the history of religions. “What we might call the ‘external strategy’ of ritualization, the very drawing of a privileged distinction between its activities and others, parallels what can be called its ‘internal strategy,’ the generation of schemes of opposition, hierarchization, and deferral by which the body has impressed upon it the schemes that effect the distinctive privileging and differentiation of ritualizing acts themselves. Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism--Gershom Scholem, Maurice Olender, The Languages of Paradise, Raymond Williams - "Marxism and Literature", Ussama Makdisi - "The Culture of Sectarianism", Keiji Nishitani - "Religion and Nothingness". Approach: “Rather than impose categories of what is or is not ritual, it may be more useful to look at how human activities establish and manipulate their own differentiation and purposes—in the very doing of the act within the context of other ways of acting. A similar thing happens in ritual, though unlike Saussure, in ritual, there is a reintegration not just serial differentiations (23). This object will act as the natural object of the specified mode of analysis, although the object so identified is not independent of this analysis; it is constituted and depicted as such in terms of the specified mode of analysis. The goal of ritualization is a strategic way of acting ritualization of social agents. This homology is achieved by a hidden appeal to a type of common denominator, the opposition of thought and action. Bell draws on Jameson to note parallel in linguistic theory of differentiation of two terms that come up in subsequent levels of analysis. Ritualization is a strategic play of power, of domination and resistance, within the arena of the social body” (204). The last example is of “Performance” theory and other related analogical theories like text: Bell claims that performance theory is guilty of presenting activity as dramatizing prior conceptual entities in order to affirm them. In this volume, Bell re-examines the issues, methods, and ramifications of our interest in ritual by concentrating on anthropology, sociology, and the history of religions. Academia.edu uses cookies to personalize content, tailor ads and improve the user experience. Summary: Bell first addresses the question, what is belief? Some theorists have tried to build on and improve performance theory, but they are still vulnerable to critiques, such as the fact that sometimes ritual isn’t a performance but is intended to cause change in the outside world (43). Academia.edu no longer supports Internet Explorer. In this volume, Bell re-examines the issues, methods, and ramifications of our interest in ritual by concentrating on anthropology, sociology, and the history of religions. She is particularly focused on Douglas’ theory, which emphasizes that ritual works for social control effectively in some but not all societies (those that are closed groups, have restricted communication codes, emphasis on hierarchical social position, and a system based on social consensus). To view 1 Full Study Guide and 1 Book Review for this book, visit our Ritual Theory Ritual Practice - Summary and Analysis page. Her argument relies on analysis of how language is used (8). Theorists speculating on ritual have tended to manipulate the thought-action dichotomy in constructing theories of ritual (25): “Hence, I am suggesting that descriptions of how rituals work have been constructed according to a logic rooted in the dynamics of theoretical speculation and the unconscious manipulation of the thought-action dichotomy is intrinsic to this construction” (25). Catholic Theological Union (USA), USA . You can download the paper by clicking the button above. With this approach in mind, I will use the term ‘ritualization’ to draw attention to the way in which certain social actions strategically distinguish themselves in relation to other actions. The distinction between symbolic and secular power is also made, the former relating to ritual and ideology and the latter to institutions. The basic assumption is the differentiation of thought and action, and layers of homologous pairs are built on that. “Ritualization sees its end, the rectification of a problematic. “By building on specific aspects of practice theory, however, I will lay out an approach to ritual activities that stresses the primacy of the social act itself, how its strategies are lodged in the very doing of the act, and how ‘. Bell emphasizes that tradition is not static but is “constantly produced and reproduced, pruned for a clear profile, and softened to absorb revitalizing elements” (123). Bell first summarizes the way theorists have dealt with the relationship between tradition, continuity, and change, pointing out that several scholars suggest a flexibility or oral culture and rigidity of written culture; also, ritual can be fixed activities and also have aspects that adapt. Bell argues against Goody, who proposes to throw out the term ritual, which carries with it associations of universality. 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