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Social Consequences Of Ritual Failure: A Garhwali Case Study

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Chapter Summary

In the field of ritual studies, ritual failure has been explained from many different perspectives. In his description of a ritual which failed to function properly", Clifford Geertz describes failure of function as a natural result of social change. Distinguishing culture as a framework of beliefs from the social world as interactive behaviour, he attributes the failure of ritual to a growing discontinuity between the community's cultural framework of beliefs and the actual patterns of social interaction. In line with the arguments of Geertz, Bell argues that rituals and ritual practices are themselves the very production and negotiation of power relations". This chapter discusses the case of a Garhwali woman for whom a number of unsuccessful healing rituals were performed, who was subsequently defined as being her responsible for the failure of the rituals and who suffered severe social consequences.

Keywords: Bell; Clifford Geertz; Garhwali; ritual failure; Social Consequences



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