W068
Multi-religious rituals: performativity, ambivalence and the need to cope with uncertainty (EN)

Convenors:
Volker Gottowik (Frankfurt University)
Raphaela von Weichs (Université de Lausanne)
Stream:
Workshops
Location:
V213
Start time:
13 July, 2012 at 11:30
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

While multi-religious rituals are subject to strong regulation in the West, they form an integral part of the ritual repertoire in other parts of the world. The aim of this workshop is to discuss the historical genesis and social implications of rituals of a rather ecumenical character.

Long abstract:

While multi-religious rituals and ecumenical events are subject to strong regulation in the West, they form an integral part of the ritual repertoire in other parts of the world. In South and Southeast Asia in particular, but also in many parts of Africa, members of different denominations go on pilgrimages to graves and shrines in order to sacrifice and pray, and sometimes they even maintain common places of worship. For a long time this multi-religious practice was widely ignored by social anthropologists, who tend to reduce this practice to a convergence between different religious communities ("syncretism") or consider it to be an expression of a handed down nature and ancestor cult ("archaism"). It is obvious, however, that a ritual practice that incorporates members of different denominations into the same activities is not compatible with a fundamentalist reading of religion. We are interested in the following questions: What do multi-religious rituals actually do, and how do they do it? How do social conflicts and uncertainty interrelate with the assumed integrative function and the ambivalence of multi-religious rituals? Other questions refer to the historical genesis, social implications and current persistence of multi-religious rituals which we intend to discuss in this workshop in order to outline a theoretical framework.