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Perf01b


Calendric rituals: a time to break the rules II [SIEF Working Group on The Ritual Year] 
Convenors:
Irina Sedakova (Institute of Slavic Studies, Moscow)
Laurent Fournier (University Cote d'Azur)
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Stream:
Performativity
Format:
Panel
Sessions:
Monday 21 June, 16:15-18:00 (UTC+3)

Short Abstract:

The panel aims to examine the array of societally accepted behaviours and rules which are broken during the performance of old and new calendric rituals, both in rural and urban arenas, in traditional as well as in modern settings. What purpose does ritual violation of the societal norms serve?

Long Abstract

The panel aims to explore the array of socially accepted behaviours and rules which are violated during the performance of old and new calendric rituals, both in rural and urban arenas, in traditional as well as in modern settings.

Since ancient times, the calendric year has been culturally structured by rituals and by folklore genres. These structures establish societal conventions and socially acceptable behaviours and present a set of strict instructions, which must not be disregarded, otherwise, according to the old beliefs, the global and local flow of life and natural development can suffer or can even be ruined. Thus, following the specific ritual rules for better crops, health of people and cattle, wealth and good luck is a must.

However, those rituals can transgress the ordinary everyday norms of the communities (M. Bakhtin) and often involve acts of improper conduct by the participants. Midsummer rural rites include erotic songs, jokes, gestures, and obscene verbal behaviour; they can also demonstrate a lack of respect for power or can replace it by ephemeral Kings or Queens. Modern urban festivals embody pouring water on the crowd and throwing vegetables, both of which contrasts with everyday ethics and mostly have entertaining goals. Who keeps the ritual rules in and how do they pass them down to the new generations? What purpose serve the rituals, which violate societal norms serve? Do the recently established urban festivals offer new sets of rules in modern contexts and why do they include anti-social ritual acts and performances?

Accepted papers: