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Rituals in an Unstable World

Contingency – Hybridity – Embodiment

Alexander Henn and Klaus-Peter Koepping

Refuting prophecies of an unstoppable increase in secularization, the fascination of religious rituals proofs to be unbroken in the late modern world. This book contests classical paradigms that reduce the rationale of rituals to normativity (Durkheim), intelligibility (Geertz) and dialectics (Turner). Instead, it shows that rituals assert their significance in the post-colonial and globalizing world by successfully negotiating structure and contingency, identity and hybridity, script and embodiment. Its case studies are dealing with a broad variety of ritual genres and expressions, including initiation ceremonies and spirit possession, new harvest ceremonies, cults of ancestors, deities and saints, ceremonial receptions, inaugurations and memorials, ritual theatre, carnival and ritual painting in contemporary Brazil, Germany, France, India, Japan, Taiwan, USA, Vietnam, and Yemen.
Contents: Alexander Henn: Introduction. Beyond Norm, Text and Dialectics - Ritual as Social Praxis – Ulricke Stohrer: Keeping Stability in an Unstable World: Ritual, Performance and Identity in Yemen – Alito Siqueira: Performing Myths of Location: The Return of the Goddess of Saltura (India) – Mani Shekhar Singh: Tradition, Pictorial Convention, Personal Trait: Poetics of Composition in Maithil Painting (India) – Michael Rudolph: Improvisation, Contingency, and Ambiguity: The Efficacy of Contemporary Ritual Performances of Taiwan’s Aborigines – Terence Turner: Ritualized Politics and Politicized Ritual Among Ourselves and the Kayapo of Brazil – Monika Salzbrunn: Marginal Politics: Carnivals as a Mode of Expression in Migration (France/Germany) – Akira Nishimura: Symbiosis or Segregation? Dealing With the «Foreign» in Nagasaki – Betina Schmidt: Polyphonic Bricolage: Caribbean Religious Cultures in New York City – Alexander Henn: Ritual, History and Identity in Goa (India) – Beatrix Hauser: How to Fast for a Good Husband? Reflections on Ritual Imitation and Embodiment in Orissa (India) – Kirsten Endres: Serving the Shadows: Performative Aspects of Vietnamese Mediumship – Irit Averbuch: Embodying the Sacred in Kagura Performances: On the Non-Verbal Language of Divine Presence in Japanese Ritual Dance-Dramas – Klaus-Peter Koepping: Body - Text - Mask: Competing Ritual Strategies and the Fracturing of Collective Identity in Modern Japan – Vincent Crapanzano: On the Preclusive Dimension of Ritual Representation.