Homo Ritualis: Hindu Ritual and Its Significance to Ritual Theory - Oxford Ritual Studies Series (Hardback)Axel Michaels (author)
Hardback 400 Pages / Published: 07/01/2016
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Are the richness and diversity of rituals and celebrations in South Asia unique? Can we speak of a homo ritualis when it comes to India or Hinduism? Are Indians or Hindus more involved in rituals than other people? If so, what makes them special? Homo Ritualis is the first book to present a Hindu theory of rituals. Based on extensive textual studies and field-work in Nepal and India, Axel Michaels argues that ritual is a distinctive way of acting, which, as in the theater, can be distinguished from other forms of action. The book analyzes ritual in these cultural-specific and religious contexts, taking into account how indigenous terms and theories affect and contribute to current ritual theory. It describes and investigates various forms of Hindu rituals and festivals, such as life-cycle rituals, the Vedic sacrifice, vows processions, and the worship of deities (puja). It also examines conceptual components of (Hindu) rituals such as framing, formality, modality, and theories of meaning.
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Number of pages: 400
Weight: 678 g
Dimensions: 236 x 162 x 25 mm
"Michaels's book is a positive contribution to ritual studies and to the study of Hindu ritual within the larger conversation of ritual theory. The ethno-Indological approach taken by Michaels is, furthermore, an innovative and rewarding method for the study of Hindu ritual, particularly as these two fields-ethnography and Indology-have sometimes been seen as at odds with each other."--Adam Newman, Reading Religion
"Michaels's key contributions are twofold: first, he offers a unifying theory of the complex structure and variety of South Asian ritual performances in their own hermeneutical terms, and second he demonstrates that a theoretically sophisticated understanding of such rituals can make significant contributions to the field of ritual studies."--Jarrod Whitaker, Journal of Religion
"Axel Michaels' Homo Ritualis indicates something of a mini-renaissance at the intersection of ritual studies and South Asian studies...This is the greatest achievement of Homo Ritualis to translate the contemporary field of ritual theory into digestibly South Asian terms; to pose adhikara as 'agency'; to place the history of Indology (from Hillebrandt to Houben) opposite textbook figures in the study of religion (from Durkheim to Lawson and McCauley). The book is worth reading simply for this exercise of cross-cultural theorizing."--Journal of the American Academy of Religion
"It has been evident at least since the time of Marcel Mauss that the study of ritual ought to draw more than it does on the rich indigenous tradition of ritual theory produced within Hinduism. Until now few have possessed the necessary skills to bring these fields together. Axel Michaels is a Sanskritist, a founder of the field of ethno-Indology, and the leader of a major research program within ritual studies. He is therefore ideally placed to be the confluence where Indology, South Asian ethnography, and ritual studies flow together and produce an important new synthesis. Homo Ritualis will be an essential point of reference for all three fields." --David N. Gellner, Professor of Social Anthropology, University of Oxford
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