Article published in:Ritual Language Behaviour
Edited by Marcel Bax
[Journal of Historical Pragmatics 4:2] 2003
► pp. 211–248
Ritual performance and the politics of identity
On the functions and uses of ritual
The theory of ritual presented in this article is based on the notion of “territory.” Ritual performance encompasses a set of techniques to affect the identity of participants: away from individuality and by communal demarcation of a symbolic territorial model in space or time. The form of ritual is seen as autonomous, i.e. as relatively independent of meaning. As a set of identity-affecting techniques, the elements of ritual can be integrated into both religious and secular settings. There is a natural tension between individuality, responsibility and the potentially totalitarian implications of ritual discourse. Ritual is claimed to be relatively harmless with respect to the symbolic territories of designated “sacred spaces”, while it is considered dangerous under conditions of “overflow”, when the elements of ritual are brought into public space. The harmful secular religions of the past two centuries are discussed, culminating in a plea for the separation between Ritual and State.
Published online: 06 June 2003
Cited by 12 other publications
Aalberts, Tanja, Xymena Kurowska, Anna Leander, Maria Mälksoo, Charlotte Heath-Kelly, Luisa Lobato & Ted Svensson
Kharkongor, Wanrisa Bok, Arunita Paul, Shilpi Bora & Debkumar Chakrabarti
Kádár, Dániel Z.
Kádár, Dániel Z. & Marcel M.H. Bax
Miranda, Marcelo Marques
O'Dowd, Liam & Martina McKnight
Scott, Sasha A Q
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