The rhythm of ritual. Foundations of an anthropological semiotics of ritual, exemplified in the case of the Ndepp of the Lebu (Senegal)
The author critically discusses the field situation regarding rituals, specifically the Ndepp ritual (which has been characterized as animistic, vitalistic, fetish, ancestor cult, among others) and introduces the Lebu and their neighbors at Kap Vert. This is followed by a detailed discussion of this ritual and the religion of the Lebu ranging from the secondary literature (analyses from anthropology, sociology, sociology of religion, etc.), psychological and ethnopsychoanalytical or musicological aspects. Van Ins then discusses Ndepp in depth as a form of religion and theories of ritual, after which he develops semiotics as a ritological method - ritual as a process of signs (including a discussion of semiotics as an ethnographic tool). Von Ins deplores that conventional ritual theory (from van Gennep via V. Turner, etc.) remains in a ´floating condition above the ritual´ and without really exactly observing it, a priori assuming the classical three-fold structure as in v. Gennep and Turner. He further introduces recording procedures (Protokollverfahren) to record ritual processes for the purpose of semiotic interpretation and then applies these methods in several cases and discusses the findings. In the appendix v. Ins lays the foundation for a ´transcultural typology of healing processes´. The author announces a ´Copernican turn´ of ritual theory in proposing a new typology in the case of healing rituals from the perspective of healers.
Keywords: ritual and semiotics, semiotics of ritual, Ndepp ritual, Lebu (Senegal), Peirce, C.S., healing processes and semiotics, Turner, V., Gennep, A.v., ancestor cult, animism, recording ritual, psychology and ritual, ethnopsychoanalysis and ritual, ritology