Accepted paper:

"Agreeing to disagree": reflexivity as ritual performance

Author:

Ulrike Davis-Sulikowski (University of Vienna)

Paper short abstract:

In Vodun rituals are institutionalised ‘spaces of contest’(Benin/Haiti), where critical debate is as important as the actual performance to create sense and meaning. This paper will discuss several notions of critical discourse and reflexivity in kinetic and verbal performance, relating the Vodun-paradigm, where reflexivity is a central component, to selected issues in current ritual theories.

Paper long abstract:

In almost all forms of Vodun rituals, whether large collective performances or small private ceremonies, reflexivity is a central component. Rituals are basically conceived as ongoing processes of communication work between different existing domains and with effects in visible and non-visible realms, in everyday life and in non-ordinary spheres. They are institutionalised 'spaces of contest', where critical debate is as important as the actual performance to create sense and meaning for all participants, whether performers or spectators. Therefore the 'Gestalt' or the configuration of a ritual is never complete and is open to ever-changing interpretation. Based on field-research in Benin and Haiti this paper will discuss several notions of critical discourse and reflexivity in kinetic and verbal performative expression, relating the Vodun-paradigm to selected issues in current ritual theories.

panel W118
Ritual and reflection: tropes In transformation and transgression (Wenner-Gren workshop)