Rituals, repertoires, and performances in postmodernity

A cultural-sociological account

Authored by: Ronald N. Jacobs

Routledge Handbook of Cultural Sociology

Print publication date:  October  2018
Online publication date:  November  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138288621
eBook ISBN: 9781315267784
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315267784-33

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Abstract

The study of ritual has been central to cultural sociology since its earliest days. While Durkheim’s theory has been the main reference point for the study of ritual, more recent approaches have emphasized contingency, strategic action, and historical contingency. This chapter reviews these recent developments, focusing specifically on the work of work of Swidler, Bourdieu, Collins, and Alexander. Swidler and Bourdieu emphasize how ritual events facilitate strategic action as well as social integration. Collins and Alexander focus on the contingency of the ritual event, attempting to explain why some rituals are more successful than others. Using the 2016 Olympic Games as an empirical case, the chapter considers the relative advantages and disadvantage that each approach offers for the cultural sociology of ritual events.

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