Ritual and identity. Performative practices as effective transformations of social reality
(Performanzen. Interkulturelle Studien zu Ritual, Spiel und Theater 8)
300 pp., Euro 29.90; ISBN 3-8258-8042-7

Keywords: performance, Hindu nationalism, ritual, harvest festivals, identity, whalers" ritual, reality and ritual

This book is the result of an International Workshop convened in January 2004 at the Institute for Ethnology, Heidelberg University.
##The main aim of the project is investigating the role of ritual in the manifestation and generation of identity. To this end, authors refer to case studies from their respective areas of field research such as Japan, Morocco, Taiwan, Korea, India, and the Azores. This might give the (wrong) impression that the topic is only relevant for societies having undergone historical developments markedly different from those of Europe and North America. However this is not the case and further research on the topic concerning Western societies is needed as well, which becomes only too apparent in phenomena like the mega-rituals celebrated after the recent death of Pope John Paul. These rituals not only have enormous implications for the influence of the Catholic Church, and they highlight the representational strategies operative in international politics, but they also, particularly through a powerful combination of compelling performative skills and a high degree of medialization, significantly shape and re-organize identities. ##