This book explores the importance of ritual and ritual theory to discourses of authenticity and originality, thereby deepening our insight into concepts of cultural heritage, identity and nation in a globalised world. The volume is the first interdisciplinary attempt to understand the significance of rituals and related performative traditions in the creation of grounded cultural identities, ‘home’ and heritage as geographically experienceable locations. It assembles perspectives from social and cultural anthropology, performance studies, education and arts that can deal with the politics of revitalisation and preservation of ritualised traditions. While some chapters in this book emphasise on the ritualisation of cultural heritage by concentrating on power relations and politics, as well as actual processes of identification, especially for marginalised ethnic groups or migrant communities, others explore how rituals as intangible heritage are strategically employed by different groups all over the world to make their claims public and to improve and negotiate their position on a local, national or global platform. This book recognises ritualised performances as transnational and cross-cultural phenomena, which are not only tied to and defined via national territories and identities but which also demand new theoretical and methodological approaches towards the discussion of rituals and heritage.
Table of Contents
List of Plates and Figures -- Glossary -- Acknowledgements -- Introduction: Ritual, Heritage and Identity in a Globalised World/Christiane Brosius and Karin M. Polit -- Part I: Framing Heritage -- 1. Heritage in Ritual and Identity/Gregory J. Ashworth -- 2. The ‘Ritualisation of Ritual’ in the Construction of Heritage/Richard Handler -- 3. Useable Pasts — Creative Futures: How Normative Recognition Opens New Horizons for Publicly Committed Scholars/Christine M. Merkel -- 4. Performativity and Dynamics of Intangible Cultural Heritage/Christoph Wulf -- Part II: Ethnography and Practice -- 5. The Cultural Politics of Transnational Heritage Rituals: Akshardham Cultural Complex in New Delhi/Christiane Brosius -- 6. Political Patronage and Ritual Competitions at Dussehra Festival in Northern India/Daniela Berti -- 7. Heritage, Art and Elections: Popular Culture, Ritual and Political Competition in Uttarakhand/Karin M. Polit -- 8. Randala Ritual: Women’s Heritage and Identity in Gujarat, India/Purnima Shah -- 9. Synthesising Practice and Performance, Securing Recognition: Thangmi Cultural Heritage in Nepal and India/Sara Shneiderman -- 10. From ‘Wasteful Superstition’ to ‘Beautiful Tradition’: Changing Assessments of Popular Ritual in Late Socialist Vietnam/Kirsten W. Endres -- 11. Scripturalisation of Ritual in Eastern Nepal/Martin Gaenszle -- About the Editors -- Notes on Contributors -- Index.
Christiane Brosius is Professor and Chair of Visual and Media Anthropology at Karl Jaspers Center of Transcultural Studies, Heidelberg, Germany.
Karin Polit is Research Associate in Anthropology at Institute for Ethnology, University of Heidelberg.