Ritual Communication  book cover
1st Edition

Ritual Communication

ISBN 9781847882950
Published November 1, 2009 by Routledge
400 Pages

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Book Description

Ritual Communication examines how people create and express meaning through verbal and non-verbal ritual. Ritual communication extends beyond collective religious expression. It is an intrinsic part of everyday interactions, ceremonies, theatrical performances, shamanic chants, political demonstrations and rites of passage. Despite being largely formulaic and repetitive, ritual communication is a highly participative and self-oriented process. The ritual is shaped by time, space and the individual body as well as by language ideologies, local aesthetics, contexts of use, and relations among participants. Ritual Communication draws on a wide range of contemporary cultures - from Africa, America, Asia, and the Pacific - to present a rich and diverse study for students and scholars of anthropology, sociology and sociolinguistics.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Ritual CommunicationEllen B. Basso and Gunter Senft1Little RitualsJohn B. Haviland2Everyday Ritual in the Residential WorldN. J. Enfield3Trobriand Islanders' Forms of Ritual CommunicationGunter Senft4"Like a Crab Teaching its Young to Walk Straight": Proverbiality, semantics and indexicality in English and MalayCliff Goddard5Access Rituals in West African Communities: an Ethnopragmatic PerspectiveFelix K. Ameka6Ritual and the Circulation of ExperienceSuzanne Oakdale7Communicative Resonance across Settings: Marriage Arrangement, Initiation and Political Meetings in KenyaCorinne A. Kratz8Ritualised Performances as Total Social Facts: the House of Multiple SpiritsIngjerd Hoëm9"Pengunjuk Rasa" (expression of feelings) in Sumba: "Bloody Thursday" in its Cultural and Historical ContextJoel C. Kuipers10Civility and Deception in two Kalapalo Ritual FormsEllen B. Basso11Private Ritual Encounters, Public Ritual IndexesMichael Silverstein 12"Kantámpranku awiúnkanam enkémturnai..." "While I sing I am Sitting in a Real Air-Plane..." Innovative Contents in Shuar and Achuar Ritual Communication.Maurizio Gnerre13Interior Dialogues: The Co-Voicing of Ritual in SolitudeJohn W. Du Bois Index

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Ellen B. Basso is Professor Emerita of Anthropology, University of Arizona. Gunter Senft is senior research fellow at the Max-Planck-Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen and extraordinary Professor of General Linguistics at the University of Cologne


This volume will stand as a benchmark work in the exploration of ritual communication, a notoriously expansive notion that can include the stereotypy of animal behavior, the routinization of social interaction and the symbolic density of religious enactment. The richness of the essays makes the volume a true delight to read, and the analytical rigor that the authors bring to bear in their case studies sheds clear light on the complex relations between discursive form, social function, cultural meaning, and personal experience in ritual semiosis. - Professor Richard Bauman, Indiana University