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.
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