Ritual: its Relevance and Resonances
Tutor: Kenneth Rees
THE MARY WARD CENTRE, Queen Square WC1N 3AQ
Societies have typically marked their significant historical points, inaugurations and specific occasions, both civic and religious, with the language of ritual. Individuals have also been perennially inducted into groups and traditions via rites of passage, bestowment and of installation. In addition, on a personal level, people may ritualise their own habits, sometimes even to a pathological degree.
This two day course looks at specific ritual practices e.g. – magical, mythic, celebratory, healing and cathartic – both cross-culturally and in terms of sub-cultural and institutional examples e.g. sporting or political. It also considers sociological, anthropological and psychological theories of ritual. Such perspectives point to the value of ritual action both for society as a whole and for the person. It is suggested that modern society suffers from progressively symbolic loss in this area and the case is thus made for its urgent reclamation.
The course is supported throughout by a range of documentaries from numerous cultures across the world and by informative handouts. Class discussion is encouraged.