Accueil > Rituals, rites and ritualization: building the self

DHUM 1305A - Rituals, rites and ritualization: building the self

Type d'enseignement : Elective

Semester : Autumn 2017-2018

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English

Voir les plans de cours et bibliographies

Pre-requisite

aucun

Course Description

What is a ritual? We have the feeling that rituals are universal human practices, found in cultures all around the world, from the most contemporary to the oldest. We even consider that a major difference between earliest humans and animals was their ability to make rituals (burials). Is ritual activity an essential attribute of humans? During this semester, we will follow the idea that rituals are essential tools to shape, build, or produce personal identities, at a single and a group level. Rituals first seem to be apparatuses distributing properties to individuals: for example, during a rite of passage, a person begins with a number of properties (person A is a child), loses these properties for a moment (person A goes through an initiation), becomes a new person and reintegrates the group with new properties (person A becomes person B, the child is now a man). Rituals allow thus individuals and groups to change alongside. Following this view, we will examine closely different rituals (rites of passages in Africa, the Naven of the Iatmul in Papa-New-Guinea, the Jain Puja in India, etc.). We will come to an understanding of rituals based on the concept of “ritualization”, a particular commitment or attitude intrinsic to an activity, allowing the actions to transform oneself.

Teachers

GILLE, Baptiste (Post doctorant)

Course validation

Individual presentation : 50% Final Exam : 50%

Required reading

  • Bourdieu, Pierre. 1993. Language & Symbolic Power. Part II: The Social Institution of Symbolic Power, “Authorized Language: The Social Conditions for the Effectiveness of Ritual Discourse”. Cambridge, MA. Harvard University Press.
  • Houseman, Michael & Severi, Carlo. 1998. Naven or the Other Self: A Relational Approach to Ritual Action. Leiden: Brill.
  • Lévi-Strauss, Claude. 1963. Structural Anthropology. Translated by Claire Jacobson and Brooke Grundfest Schoepf. New York: Doubleday Anchor Books.

Plans de cours et bibliographies

Session 1 – A liminal space and time

  • Van Gennep, Arnold. 1909. The Rites of Passage. Vizedom, Monika B (Translator); Caffee, Gabrielle  (Translator). Hove, East Sussex, UK: Psychology Press (1977) [1960]. 
  • Housman, Michael. 2012. Le Rouge est le noir: essai sur le rituel. Toulouse, France. Presses Universitaires du Mirail.

Session 2 – Liminality: delimitating the self and the non-self

  • Goffman, Erwin. 1967. Interaction Ritual: Essays on Face-to-Face Behavior. Anchor Books.
  • Boyer, Pascal & Liénard, Pierre, 2006, “Why ritualized behavior? Precaution Systems and action parsing in developmental, pathological and cultural rituals”, Behavioral & Brain Sciences, 29, 1-56.

Session 3 – Symbols: a fundamental brick of ritual action (Case study: Ndembu rituals)

  • Turner, Victor. 1967. The Forest of Symbols: Aspects of Ndembu Ritual. Cornell University Press.
  • Turner, Victor. 1968. The Drums of Affliction. A study of religious process among the Ndembu of Zambia. London, Oxford University Press.

Session 4 – What would be symbolic efficacy? (Case study: Kuna ritual)

  • Lévi-Strauss, Claude. 1963. Structural Anthropology. Translated by Claire Jacobson and Brooke Grundfest Schoepf. New York: Doubleday Anchor Books.
  • Severi, Carlo. 2015. Chimera Principle. Chicago, USA; Chicago University Press/HAU.

Session 5 – What would be symbolic efficacy? (Case study: Kwakiutl healing rituals)

  • Lévi-Strauss, Claude. 1963. Structural Anthropology. Translated by Claire Jacobson and Brooke Grundfest Schoepf. New York: Doubleday Anchor Books.
  • Lévi-Strauss, C. 1981. Mythologiques, Volume IV. The Naked Man. “Finale”. Chicago University Press.

Session 6 – Rituals beyond symbolism & communication: performance & performativity

  • Bourdieu, Pierre. 1993. Language & Symbolic Power. Part II: The Social Institution of Symbolic Power, “Authorized Language: The Social Conditions for the Effectiveness of Ritual Discourse”. Cambridge, MA. Harvard University Press.
  • Bourdieu, Pierre. 1993. Language & Symbolic Power. Part II: The Social Institution of Symbolic Power, “Rites of Institution”. Cambridge, MA. Harvard University Press.

Session 7 – Rituals and institutions: ritual as a test (“épreuve”)

  • Boltanski, Luc & Thévenot, Laurent. 2006. On Justification. Princeton, USA. Princeton University Press.
  • Latour, Bruno. 1993. The Pasteurization of France. Cambridge, MA. Harvard University Press.

Session 8 – Rituals as a consolidation of social ties (Case study: Naven)

  • Houseman, Michael & Severi, Carlo. 1998. Naven or the Other Self: A Relational Approach to Ritual Action. Leiden: Brill.

Session 9 – Ritual interactions: a boy in the making (Case study: Naven)

  • Houseman, Michael & Severi, Carlo. 1998. Naven or the Other Self: A Relational Approach to Ritual Action. Leiden: Brill.

Session 10 – Ritualization: a singular propositional commitment (Case study: Indian puja)

  • Humphrey, Caroline & Laidlaw, James. 199’. Archetypal Action of rituals illustrated by the Jain Rite of Worship. Oxford, UK. Oxford University Press.

Session 11 – Ritualization: a metamorphosis of agency (Case study: Indian puja)

  • Humphrey, Caroline & Laidlaw, James. 199’. Archetypal Action of rituals illustrated by the Jain Rite of Worship. Oxford, UK. Oxford University Press.

Session 12 – Final Exam