All the world’s a stage
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts” (Jacques, AYLI 2:7).
Rituals exist as a result of the actions of specific people or institutions; we recognise those rituals because they are engrained in our cultural customs as much as they are ordained by law. The resulting rituals not only reinforce the beliefs or values of these specific communities, but simultaneously define these group identities. Victor Turner describes rituals as ‘social dramas’ that allow any given culture to maintain a balance between structurally enforced norms and personal autonomy; the medieval carnival with its Lord of Misrule, for example, permitted a short period of topsy-turvy, upside-down role-play in popular culture, to ensure social hierarchies and authority were obeyed and enforced during the rest of the year.
'Battle between Carnival and Lent' (1559), P. Bruegel
Drawing upon the ritual theory of Stanley J. Tambiah, Mary Ann McGrath and others, this interdisciplinary issue – our 17thpublication – spans 800 years of history and several continents from twelfth-century Russia, to contemporary America, via mafia initiation oaths and the British occult. Drawing upon architecture, history, literature, and performance, the collected articles in Rites & Rituals emphasise the necessity of ritual in both reaffirming the individual's position within society and enabling a sense of communitas throughout society.
Editors: Victoria Anker & Laura Chapot
Review Team Autumn 2013: Marie Allitt, Emily Anderson, Michelle Anjirbag*, Selina Aragon, Enti Arends*, Candace Bagley, Georgina Barker, Yahya Barry, Sarah Bernstein, Imogen Block, Adam Bloom, Philippa Chun, Kyle Cooper, Raph Cormack, Nicole Cote, Glynnis Cox, Dave Crosbie*, Muireann Crowley, Marta Dabrowka, Kate Dunn, Yanbing Er, Laura de la Parra Fernández, Alison Garden, Jan Gobrecht, Sarah Gundle*, Sarah Hayden, Qianwei He, Katie Hickey, Sarah Hicks, Olivia Ho, Heid Jerstad, Rob Lederer, Jessica Legacy*, Hannah Lesshafft, James Leveque, Phoebe Linton, Vicki Madden, Clara Martínez, Dominique Mason, Ian McMaster, Catherine McMillan, Fiona McPake, Genevieve McNutt, Anastasios Panagiotopoulos, Sandra Paziewicz, Cat Schaupp, Justine Seran, Dawn Sherratt-Bado, Nick Spengler, Deirdre Stack-Marques, Lizzie Stewart, Madden Swan*, Melissa Thornton. Article Editors are marked with a star(*)