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Table of Contents

Part 1 Theories: The History of Interpretation 1 Myth or Ritual: Questions of Origin and Essence Early Theories and Theorists They Myth and Ritual Schools The Phenomenology of Religions Psychoanalytic Approatches to Ritual Profile: Interpreting the Akitu Festival Conclusion 2 Ritual and Society: Questions of Social Funciton and Structure Early Theories of Social Solidarity Functionalism Neofunctional Systems Analyses Structuralism Magic, Religion, and Science Profile: Interpreting the Mukanda Initiation Conclusion 3 Ritual Symbols, Syntax, and Praxis: Questions of Cultural Meaning and Interpretation Symbolic Systems and Symbolic Action Linguistics Performance Practice Profile: Interpreting British and Swazi Enthronement Rites Conclusion Part II Rites: The Spectrum of Ritual Activities 4 Basic Genres of Ritual Action Rites of Passage Calendrical Rites Rites of Affliction Feasting, Fasting, and Festivals Political Rites Conclusion Part III Contexts: The Fabric of Ritual Life 6 Ritual Density Systems Typologies Orthopraxy and Orthodoxy Traditional and Secular Oral and Literate Church, Sect, and Cult Conclusion 7 Ritual Change Tradition and Transformation Ritual Invention Media and Message Conclusion 8 Ritual Reification Repudiating, Returning, Romancing The Emergence of

About the Author

Former Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies, Santa Clara University


"A very impressive achievement....[Bell's] is one of the most interesting and important voices in the field of ritual studies today."--Worship "A rich and detailed interdisciplinary analysis of the nature and functions of ritual. Scholars in all fields will profit from this sound and probing study."--Religious Studies Review

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