Theories of the evolution of culture are interwoven withthe study of religion.Three schools of theory emerged in the 19th century: 1. Myth and ritual 2. Sociological 3. Psychological
Three characteristics of ritual activities: 1. Communal 2. Traditional 3. Rooted in beliefs
Bell (2008) lists these genres of ritual action: 1. Rites of passage 2. Calendrical rites 3. Rules of exchange and communication 4. Rites of affliction 5. Feasting, fasting, and festivals 6. Political rites
Bell (2008) explains five characteristics of ritual-likeactivities: 1. Formalization 2. Traditionalism 3. Invariance 4. Rule-governance 5. Sacral symbolism
Formalization: the degree of formality in dress or speechthat marks an activity ritual-like.
Traditionalism: (or, we have always done this) appeals tocultural precedents.
Invariance: emphasizes precise repetition and physicalcontrol.
Rule-governance: maintains that ritual-like activities aregoverned by rules that guide and direct the activities.
Sacral symbolism: appeals to supernatural beings.
All of the previous characteristics are manifested in andthrough performance.
Rituals, and ritual-like actions, abound in our daily livesas a way to give meaning and significance.
Rituals are also marked by joy, fun, and anticipation.
Now, think about your own rituals and those ofyour communities…