Ritual efficacy in the making

Abstract : As a contribution to the much debated problem of ritual efficacy, this article aims to present a technological approach to ritual theory. In most scholarly studies of ritual, analyses of the material setting are avoided in favour of a focus on symbolic expression, cultural representations, or embodied cognition. Here a close look at the interplay between substances, sounds, smells, elementary actions on matter and supernatural forces shows that there is a blending phenomenon between myth, rite and technique at the early stages of the preparatory phases as well as during the ritual action itself. The central part played by technical actions and interaction with matter in the ritual of Samoan tattooing is a case study for a technological approach to ritual efficacy.
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Contributor : Sébastien Galliot <>
Submitted on : Thursday, August 20, 2015 - 1:45:58 PM
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Sébastien Galliot. Ritual efficacy in the making. Journal of Material Culture, SAGE Publications (UK and US), 2015, 20 (2), pp.101-125. ⟨10.1177/1359183515578248⟩. ⟨hal-01185483⟩



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