Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Symbols, Song, Dance and Features of Articulation Is religion an extreme form of traditional authority?

  • Maurice Bloch

Extract

Recent studies of symbols in ritual share two features. First, they isolate symbols from the ritualprocess; second, they interpret symbols as units containing meaning. In this paper I want to argue thatsymbols in ritual cannot be understood without a prior study of the nature of the communication medium of ritual in which they are embedded, in particular singing and dancing, and that once this has been done we find that symbols cannot any more be understood as units of meaning simply on the Saussurian signifier/signified model, however subtly this model is handled. Such varied writers as Bettelheim (1954) and Turner (1959) are to my mind examples of writers ultimately using this model for the study of meaning in ritual.

Copyright

References

Hide All
Aitchison, J., Review of Corlu, A., «Recherches sur les mots relatifs à l'idée de priére d'Homère aux Tragiques», ap. Journal of Hellenic Studies, LXXXVI (1966), 124.
Alnaes, K., Nyamayingi's song: an analysis of a Konzo circumcision song, Africa, XXXVII (1967), 435466.
Ardener, E., Belief and the Problem of Women, in La Fontaine, J. S. (ed.), The Interpretation of Ritual: Essays in Honour of A. I. Richards, (London, Tavistock, 1972).
Austin, J. L., How to do Things with Words (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1962).
Beidelman, T.O., Swazi Royal Rituals, in Africa, XXXVI (1966), 373405.
Bernstein, B., A Sociolinguistic Approach to Socialisation, with some reference to educability, in J. G. Gumpertz and D. Hymes, Direction in Social Linguistics (New York, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1972).
Bettelheim, B., Symbolic Wounds: Puberty Rites and the Envious Male (Glencoe, Illinois Free Press, 1965).
Bloch, M., Decision-Making in Councils among the Merina, in Richards, A. and Kuper, A. (eds), Councils in Action (Cambridge [Papers in Social Anthropology, No6] 1971).
Cunnison, I., The Luapala Peoples of N. Rhodesia (Manchester, University Press, 1959).
Durkheim, E., Les formes ilimentaires de la vie religieuse (Paris, Alcan, 1893).
Evans-Pritchard, E.E., The Dance, Africa, (1928), 446462.
Evans-Pritchard, E.E., The Nuer (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1940).
Evans-Pritchard, E.E., Nuer Religion (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1956).
Fillmore, C. J., Entailment Rules in a Semantic Theory, in Rosenberg, J. F. and Travis, C. (eds), Readings in the Philosophy of Language (Englewood Cliffs, Prentice Hall, 1971).
Fillmore, C. J. and Langoenden, D. T. (eds.), Studies in Linguistic Semantics (New York, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1971).
Firth, R., Rank and Religion in Tikopia (London, George Allen and Unwin, 1970).
Fit, J. R., Papers in Linguistics (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1957).
Fortes, M., Oedipus and Job in West African Religion (Cambridge, University Press, 1959).
Fortes, M., Ritual and Office in Tribal Society, in Gluckman, M. (ed.), Essays on the Ritual of Social Relations (Manchester, University Press, 1962).
Gluckman, M., Politics, Law and Ritual in Tribal Society (Oxford, Basil Blackwell, 1965).
Gumperz, J., and Hymes, D., The Ethnography of Communication (New York, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1972).
Halliday, M., Explorations in the Function of Language (London, Arnold, 1973).
Hymes, D., Sociolinguistics and the Ethnography of Speaking, in Ardener, E. (ed.), Social Anthropology of Language (London, Tavistok, 1971) [Association of Social Anthropologists, N° 10].
Keesing, R., Simple Models of Complexity: The lure of kinship, in Reining, P. (ed.), Kinship Studies in the Morgan, Anthropological Society of Washington, Centennial Year. (1972).
La Fontaine, J.S., Ritualization of Women's Life-crises in Bugisu, in La Fontaine, J. S. (ed.), The Interpretation of Ritual: Essays in Honour of A. I. Richards, op. cit.
Lakoff, G., The role of Deduction in Grammar, in Fillmore, J. and Langoenden, D. T., Studies in Linguistic Semantics (New York, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1971).
Langoenden, D. T., The London School of Linguistics (Cambridge, M.I.T. Press, 1968), Research Monograph, no 46.
Leach, E.R., Ritualisation in Man in Relation to Conceptual and Social Development, in Huxley, J. (ed.), A Discussion on Ritualisation of Behaviour in Animals and Man (London, Philosophical Transaction of the Royal Society, 1966).
Leach, E. R., The Structure of Symbolism in La Fontaine, J. S. (ed.), The Interpretation of Ritual: Essays in Honour of A. I. Richards, op. cit.
Leis, P., Accommodation in a Plural Kingdom, Man, V (1970), 671685.
Levi-Strauss, Cl., Le totémisme aujourd'hui (Paris, P.U.F., 1962).
Lyons, J., Structural Semantics, Publication of the Philological Society, XX (1963).
Malinowski, B., The Language of Magic and Gardening: coral gardens and their magic (London, Allen Unwin, 1935), Vol. II.
McCawley, J.D., Meaning and the Description of Languages, Kotoba no uchu. No. 9, 10, 11. Reprinted in J. F. Rosenberg, L. C. Travis, Readings in the Philosophy of Language (Englewood Cliffs, Prentice Hall, 1971).
Radcliffe-Brown, A. R., Structure and Function in Primitive Society (London, Cohen and West, 1951).
Rappoport, R., The Sacred in Human Evolution, Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics, II (1971), 2344.
Rappoport, R., Seminar Paper delivered at the London School of Economics, 1973.
Sahlins, M., Poor man, Rich man, Big man, Chief: political types in Melanesia and Polynesia, Comparative Studies in Society and History, V (1963), 285303.
Sheffler, H. and Lansbury, F., A Study in Structural Semantics (Englewood Cliffs, Prentice Hall, 1971).
Tambiah, S. J., The Magical Power of Words, Man, III (1968), 175208.
Turner, V., Symbols in Ndemba Ritual, in Gluckman, M. (ed.), Closed Systems and Open Minds (Edinburgh, Oliver & Boyd, 1964).
Van Gennep, A., Les rites de passage (Paris, E. Noury, 1909).
Wallace, A. F. C., Religion: an anthropoin logical view (New York, Random House, 1966).
Weber, M., Economy and Society (New York, Badminton Press, 1968).

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed