Ritual Making Women: Shaping Rites for Changing Lives, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Ritual Making Women

Shaping Rites for Changing Lives, 1st Edition

By Jan Berry


256 pages

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pub: 2009-10-01
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Ritual Making Women looks at the way in which women's making of ritual has emerged from the rapidly developing field of women's spirituality and theology. The author uses ethnographic material to explore how the construction of ritual uses story-making and embodied action to empower women. Ritual, far from being a timeless and universal practice, is shown to be a contextual and gendered performance in which women subvert conventional distinctions of private and public. The book combines narrative and case study material and draws on feminist theology and theory, social anthropology and gender studies.


"Berry pursues a wide-ranging discussion of issues involved in the construction and enactment of ritual and the effects of such ritual making. The interweaving of detailed descriptions of these case studies with discussion of theory related to ritualizing makes for a fresh and stimulating contribution to this field of study."Practical Theology

Table of Contents

1. Exploring the Power of Ritual

2. 'Sisters are doing it for themselves'

3. Whose Story Is It Anyway? An Exploration of Methodology

Case Study One: Letting Go and Moving On - Carol's Story

4. Thresholds and Passages: Negotiating Change in Women's Ritual Making

Case Study Two: Knots and Dreams - Clare's Story

5. Shapes and Patterns: Women's Ritual Making

Case Study Three: Shells and Fish - Jane's Story

6. Re-(w)riting the Self: Narrative, Identity and Agency

Case Study Four: The Name That's Yet to Be - Jackie's Story

7. Private or Public? The Communal Dimension of Women's Ritual Making

Case Study Five: This is My Body: Nicola's Story

8. Performing the Body: Ritual, Sacrament, and Embodied Theology

9. Re-imaging Rites: Where Next for Women's Ritual Making

Appendix One: Summary of Data

About the Author

Jan Berry is a tutor in Practical Theology at Luther King House, Manchester, where she teaches pastoral studies, liturgy and worship, and feminist theology and spirituality on an MA and undergraduate programme in contextual theology. She is a minister of the United Reformed Church, and has considerable experience in creating and writing material for worship, particularly with women's groups. She has previously worked in local church ministry and university chaplaincy.

About the Series

Gender, Theology and Spirituality

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / General