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Ritual: A Very Short Introduction

Barry Stephenson

22 January 2015

ISBN: 9780199943524

144 pages

In Stock

Very Short Introductions

Price: £8.99



Alongside description of a number of specific rites, this Very Short Introduction explores ritual from both theoretical and historical perspectives. Barry Stephenson focuses on the places where ritual touches everyday life: in politics and power; moments of transformation in the life cycle; as performance and embodiment. He also discusses the boundaries of ritual, and how and why certain behaviours have been studied as ritual while others have not.

  • A concise and informative introduction to ritual from both a theoretical and historical perspectives.
  • Explores how ritual functions in modern culture and society
  • Discusses how ritual is part of what it means to be human
  • Describes a number of specific rites.

About the Author(s)

Barry Stephenson, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Memorial University, St. John's, Canada

Barry Stephenson is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Memorial University, St. John's, Newfoundland, and coeditor of the Oxford Ritual Studies Series. He is the author of Performing the Reformation: Public Ritual in the City of Luther and Veneration and Revolt: Hermann Hesse and Swabian Pietism.

Table of Contents

    List of illustrations
    Chapter 1 Ritualization
    Chapter 2 Ritual and the Origins of Culture
    Chapter 3 Ritual and Society
    Chapter 4 Ritual and Transformation
    Chapter 5 Definitions, Types, Domains
    Chapter 6 Ritual as Performance
    Chapter 7 The Fortunes of Ritual
    Further reading