Understanding Religious Ritual
Theoretical approaches and innovations
Edited by John P. Hoffmann
Routledge – 2012 – 226 pages
Series: Routledge Advances in Sociology
Although numerous studies of religious rituals have been conducted by religious studies scholars, anthropologists, sociologists, and psychologists, it is rare to find a work that brings scholars from different disciplines together to discuss the similarities and differences in their research. This book represents contributions by leading scholars from several disciplines that show the diversity of approaches to religious rituals, while also providing cross-disciplinary perspectives on this topic.
The goals of the chapters are to consider where the field currently stands in understanding religious rituals and what novel ideas can improve our knowledge about these practices; and furnish innovative applications of theory by discussing particular examples which are drawn from the authors’ fieldwork. The chapters cover Christian, Buddhist, Jewish, and Islamic rituals, thus providing a view of how ritual practices vary across the globe, but also how they share some important characteristics.
Introduction: Improving our Understanding of Religious Ritual by John P. Hoffmann 1. Transformations: The Social Construciton of Religious Ritual by Timothy J. Nelson 2. The Ritual Production of Belonging and Belief: Darwinian Flesh for Durkheimian Bones by Douglas A. Marshall 3. Experience, Subjectivity and Performance: An Anthropological Approach to Pentecostal Rituals Based on the Body by Geraldine Mossiere 4. Ritual Texts: Languages and Action in Ritual by Jorgen Podemann Sorensen 5. A Psychological Functionalist Perspective on a Forgiveness Ritual by Elizabeth A. Gassin 6. Making It Look Right: Ritual as a Form of Communication by Daniel B. Lee 7. Applying Practise-Oriented Approaches to Islamic Purification and Prayer by Kate Ostergaard 8. Centered in Time: A Sociological Phenomenology of Religious Rituals by James V. Spickard 9. Mongolian Livestock Rituals: Appropriations, Adaptations, and Transformations by Vesna A. Wallace 10. 'Don’t Forget Home': The Importance of Sacred Ritual in Families by Loren D. Marks and David Dollahite 11. The Ritual Economy in Modern Malaysia by Johan Fischer
John P. Hoffmann is Professor of Sociology at Brigham Young University. His research interests include the influence of religious practices on behaviours and attitudes. He has also studied western religions in Japan. His most recent books include Japanese Saints and Revisiting Thomas F. O’Dea’s The Mormons.