Synopses & Reviews
In common understanding, but also in scholarly discourse, ritual has been long viewed as an undisputed and indisputable part of (especially religious) tradition, performed over and over in the same ways: stable in form, meaningless, preconcieved, and with the aim of creating harmony and enabling a tradition's survival. The authors represented in this collection argue, however, that these assumptions can be seriously challenged.
Not only are rituals frequently disputed, they also constitute a field in which vital and sometimes even violent negotiations take place. Negotiations - here understood as processes of interaction during which differing positions are debated and/or acted out - are ubiquitous in ritual contexts, either in relation to the ritual itself, or in relation to the realm beyond any given ritual performance. The authors contend that a central feature of ritual is its embeddedness in negotiation processes and that life beyond the ritual frame often is negotiated in the field of rituals. This point of view opens up fruitful new perspectives on ritual procedures, on the interactions that constitute these procedures, and on the contexts in which they are embedded. By explicitly addressing and theorizing the relevance of negotiation in the world of ritual, the essays in this volume seek to persuade scholars and students alike to think differently and to find new starting points for more nuanced discussions.
"So far no works have exclusively analyzed the interrelationship between ritual and notions of negotiation although negotiation and rituals are inextricably interlinked, as this array of superbly researched and lucidly written articles shows. The book does nothing less than demonstrate that rituals are indispensable in situations of crisis and conflict. It is based on the mature debate on the performativity of ritual, and reflections on culture as process and negotiation. This scholarly yet readable book will undoubtedly become a welcome resource and reference book for students, teachers, and scholars alike."-- Axel Michaels, author of Siva in Trouble
About the Author
is an Indologist and cultural anthropologist. She taught at Göttingen University, at the South Asia Institute at Heidelberg University, and since 2007 at Oslo University. In Heidelberg Hüsken was member of the steering committee of the Dynamics of Ritual collaborative research center, and for three years she served as co-chair of the Ritual Studies Group (American Academy of Religion).
Frank Neubert is a scholar in the Study of Religions. He lectured at Heidelberg as a member of the Dynamics of Ritual collaborative research center. He is currently assistant professor for the study of religions at the University of Berne, Switzerland.
Table of Contents
Ute Hüsken and Frank Neubert
PART ONE - SHARING A WORLD
1. Negotiating Karma: Penance in Classical Indian Law Books
2. Negotiations at Death: Assessing Gifts, Mothers and Marriages
Erik de Maaker
3. "The Clitoris Is Indeed Your Sweet": Negotiating Gender Roles in the Ritual Setting of the Swahili New Year's Festival
4. Ritual Negotiations in Lutherland
5. Negotiating Rites in Imperial China: The Case of Northern Song Court Ritual Debates from 1034 to 1093
PART TWO - GETTING IT STRAIGHT
6. Performing the Ancient Ones: The Body-in-practice as the Ground of Ritual Negotiation
7. Negotiating Tantra and Veda in the Parasurama-Kalpa Tradition
8. Same-Sex Weddings in Canada: Rituals of Resistance or Rituals of Conformity?
9. The Social Element of Visionary Revelation: Public Rites as a Means of Negotiating Authenticity in Tibetan Buddhist Visionary Lineages
10. Negotiating Ritual Repair: The prayascitta Material in the Baudhayana Srauta Sutra
PART THREE - MEANINGS AND VALUES OF RITUAL
11. Hook-Swinging in South India: Negotiating the Subaltern Space within a Colonial Society
12. Negotiating Meaning and Enactment in a Buddhist Ritual
Patricia Q. Campbell
13. Ordination into the Buddhist Sangha as an Initiation Ritual and as a Legal Procedure
Ute Hüsken and Petra Kieffer-Pülz
14. Negotiating the Social in the Ritual Theory of Victor Turner and Roy Rappaport