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Ritual Theory, Ritual Practice
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Table of Contents

Introduction I. THE PRACTICE OF RITUAL THEORY 1. Constructing Ritual 2. Constructing Meaning 3. Constructing Discourse II. THE SENSE OF RITUAL 4. Action and Practice 5. The Ritual Body 6. Ritual Traditions and Systems III. RITUAL AND POWER 7. Ritual Control 8. Ritual, Belief, and Ideology 9. The Power of Ritualization Bibliography Index

About the Author

Late Professor Emerita of Religious Studies, Santa Clara University

Reviews

"Throws down the gauntlet to cultural interpretations of ritual....Bell's erudition and command of the literature, especially in the field of anthropology, is most impressive. Her appeal for the centrality of dynamic individuals, strategies, and power relationships is powerful and will no doubt strike a chord among those similarly disaffected with prevailing trends in understanding ritual."--American Journal of Sociology "Fills a gap....Bell has supplied a thorough study of the field that brings together some valuable insights difficult to find elsewhere under one cover."--Sociology "Catherine Bell's book will surely set the standard for work in the burgeoning field of "ritual studies" for some time....excellent."--The Journal of Religion "This book would serve as a valuable resource for understanding theories and developing research ideas on ritual--especially with Bell's incisive, comprehensive treatment of previous theories....I strongly recommend this book to any social scientist who is critical and curious enough to swim against the mainstream in exploration of our complex, dynamic relationships with culture, our creation(s), and our creator(s)."--The International Journal of the Psychology of Religion "Bell provides an illuminating examination of the linkages...between the analytics of ritual and broader conceptualizations of social process....her presentation of "the framework of ritualization" strikes me as one of the most exciting and original contributions to ritual theory I have read in recent years."--History of Religion "Throws down the gauntlet to cultural interpretations of ritual....Bell's erudition and command of the literature, especially in the field of anthropology, is most impressive. Her appeal for the centrality of dynamic individuals, strategies, and power relationships is powerful and will no doubt strike a chord among those similarly disaffected with prevailing trends in understanding ritual."--American Journal of Sociology "Fills a gap....Bell has supplied a thorough study of the field that brings together some valuable insights difficult to find elsewhere under one cover."--Sociology "Catherine Bell's book will surely set the standard for work in the burgeoning field of "ritual studies" for some time....excellent."--The Journal of Religion "This book would serve as a valuable resource for understanding theories and developing research ideas on ritual--especially with Bell's incisive, comprehensive treatment of previous theories....I strongly recommend this book to any social scientist who is critical and curious enough to swim against the mainstream in exploration of our complex, dynamic relationships with culture, our creation(s), and our creator(s)."--The International Journal of the Psychology of Religion "Bell provides an illuminating examination of the linkages...between the analytics of ritual and broader conceptualizations of social process....her presentation of "the framework of ritualization" strikes me as one of the most exciting and original contributions to ritual theory I have read in recent years."--History of Religion "Ritual Theory, Ritual Practice is a thoughtful and provocative book. It invites us to raise questions of all the theoretical lenses which have been used to study and interpret ritual. In fact, the single greatest virtue of the book, no doubt, is in demonstrating and critiquing the wide array of interpretive options which have become part of the repertoire in the study of ritual. Theoretical possibilities are carefully summarized and probing questions raised of each."--Journal of Ritual Studies "A useful guide to ritual....In addition to critically examining theories of ritual and offering a range of constructive insights, it also uses the problems posed by ritual to provide valuable commentary on recent theoretical discussions of such notions as power, ideology, practice, and meaning....Ritual Theory/Ritual Practice helps one with the most difficult of endeavors: bringing to light implicit assumptions and defamiliarizing accrued levels of what seem like solid, established insights."--Japanese Journal of Religious Studies "...scholarly and insightful....a comprehensive critique of an entire field of scholarship..."--Method & Theory in the Study of Religion "Catherine Bell has provided us with a tour de force in her critical appraisal of the history of ritual theory and, indirectly, with some questions that might fruitfully direct further inquires."--Religious Studies Review "Ritual Theory, Ritual Practice by Catherine Bell is a book that is long overdue...[she] has a remarkable command of the theoretical issues in ritual as an object, method, and style of scholarship....not only is [this book] a compelling and provoking work, it is one of the most significant contributions to perspectives in ritual studies."--Reviews in Anthropology

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