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Reclaiming the body

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Chapter Summary

People do not 'think' necessarily in verbal media, but through the body and its senses. Studies of emotion rightly see it as actively constructed and not a passive or irrational thing that 'happens' to a person. Others argue that studies of emotion based on 'cultural construction' still see it as a 'mental' process, ignoring somatic and social dimensions. To understand the use of the body and the senses in the women's Ramadan performances, one need to consider three concepts that gain particular salience during this month, though they apply also to acts of worship at other times. They are niyyat (intent), taharat (ritual purity) and hal ('feeling'). The opening of the body is particularly salient in moments of transformation and Ramadan is perceived widely as the month of transition par excellence. In ritual performances, the expectation of transformation is expressed by the term hal.

Keywords: hal; niyyat; Ramadan performances; sentient human body; taharat



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