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This panel takes ‘crisis rituals’ and ‘rituals in crisis’ as its central focus, calling for ethnographic contributions that help to see how rituals- practices known for bringing structure and order, countering anxieties and chaos- may evoke solidarity as well as exclusion, alienation and nationalism
The corona pandemic is but one of the recent crises that caused a stir in an everyday life that for many (at least in large parts of Europe) seemed to have been driven by certainties, control and make-abilities. Within weeks, even days, fundamental dimensions as medical care, travels and family visits lost its self-evidence. Significantly, hosts of new rituals followed the virus in its conquering of the planet. These ‘corona rituals’ (collective applauding, balcony singing, church bell ringing) are but one example of the dynamic potential rituals offer in critical times, creating islands of solidarity and belonging in oceans of uncertainty.
Simultaneously, rituals appeared to be in crisis too. Birthday celebrations and funerals were put on hold, as were celebrations in public settings and gatherings. Governments imposed solutions that remodeled ritual life. However, the way rituals may be reshaped, abandoned, or rejected by societies is not homogeneous. The corona pandemic demonstrated how societal inequalities intensified and magnified, evoking polarizing positions and ritualized interventions. Yet, it also showed the power of grassroots creativity, agency and determination.
This panel takes ‘crisis rituals’ and ‘rituals in crisis’ as its central focus, calling for ethnographic contributions that help to see how rituals (not specific Corona related) – practices famously known for bringing structure and order, countering anxieties and chaos – may lead to feelings and practices of solidarity as well as exclusion, alienation and nationalism. Exploring the performativity of crisis we invite reflections on the fundamental entanglement of ritual with societal and personal life.
Accepted papers:Session 1 Saturday 10 June, 2023, -
Sheila Young (Elphinstone Institute, University of Aberdeen)
John Eade (University of Roehampton)
Aleeha Ali (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)
Nadia Zasanska (University of Flensburg, Ukrainian Catholic University)