The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure

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byVictor W. TurnerForeword byRoger D. Abrahams, Alfred Harris

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In The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure, Victor Turner examines rituals of the Ndembu in Zambia and develops his now-famous concept of "Communitas." He characterizes it as an absolute inter-human relation beyond any form of structure.

The Ritual Process has acquired the status of a small classic since these lectures were first published in 1969. Turner demonstrates how the analysis of ritual behavior and symbolism may be used as a key to understanding social structure and processes. He extends Van Gennep's notion of the "liminal phase" of rites of passage to a more general level, and applies it to gain understanding of a wide range of social phenomena. Once thought to be the "vestigial" organs of social conservatism, rituals are now seen as arenas in which social change may emerge and be absorbed into social practice.

As Roger Abrahams writes in his foreword to the revised edition: "Turner argued from specific field data. His special eloquence resided in his ability to lay open a sub-Saharan African system of belief and practice in terms that took the reader beyond the exotic features of the group among whom he carried out his fieldwork, translating his experience into the terms of contemporary Western perceptions. Reflecting Turner's range of intellectual interests, the book emerged as exceptional and eccentric in many ways: yet it achieved its place within the intellectual world because it so successfully synthesized continental theory with the practices of ethnographic reports."

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In The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure, Victor Turner examines rituals of the Ndembu in Zambia and develops his now-famous concept of "Communitas." He characterizes it as an absolute inter-human relation beyond any form of structure.The Ritual Process has acquired the status of a small classic since these lectures were fir...

Victor Turner (1920-1983) was a research officer at the Rhodes-Livingstone Institute in Zambia, where he began what was to be a lifelong study of Ndembu village life, ritual, and symbolism. He taught at the University of Manchester from 1955 to 1963, when he moved to the United States. Turner served as professor of anthropology at Co...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:213 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.62 inPublisher:Aldine Transaction

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0202011909

ISBN - 13:9780202011905

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Essential reading in symbolic anthropology Essential reading for anyone interested in the study of symbolic behaviour, The Ritual Process remains a vital contribution to social scientific scholarship by the late British anthropologist Victor Turner. Further developing his theoretical interests regarding processes of social structure in past and contemporary human societies, Turner demonstrates the extent to which ritual thought and action pervades our human condition. Ranging from discussions about rites of passage in Australian Aborigine societies to a demonstration of the ritual aspects of Western societies, the book rewards a thorough reading with astute observations and intriguing ideas about the pervasive and essentially human propensity for symbolic behaviour.
Date published: 2000-09-22