Monday, October 13, 2008

Contesting the Sacred: The Anthropology of Xn Pilgrimmage ed John Eade and Michael j. sallnow 91

Contesting the Sacred: The Anthropology of Xn Pilgrimmage ed John Eade and Michael j. sallnow 91

“foreward” by j. m. lewis x-xi
x-previous studies of pilgrimage used sociological approach and found pilgrimage as “either supporting or as subverting the estd social order”—this bk says it does both at same time—there is a stress btwn official xn view and pilgrim’s—for them its not just visiting sites, but also to get blessings of holy men

“Intro” by eade and sallnow 1-29
1-they say “pilgrimage is above all an arena for competing relus and secular discources” for all sorts of ppl—3 deterministic and turnerian models r criticized for not seeing it as “historically and culturally specific behaviors and meanings”, criticizes structuralist ideas
-structuralism emerged by studying small non-w. cultures and “quite properly stressed the organizational coherence and cultural integration of such societies as against pop misconception of primitive anarchy and infantilism, [but it was inevitable that it] should come to replicate these overly functionalist biases when it turned its attention to wider and more extensive groupings and gatherings”
-ritual study as a unifier was set by durk in forms (for critique of hyis analysis cf stanner 67 and marton 87) and most following this stressed pilgrimg’s unifying power
4-smtimes this “durkheimian approach” is “given a Marxist slant”, saying cults r complicit in supporting w/ ideologies “domination and oppression”
-v. turner countered these views (74) says it’s a “luminal phenon which betokens the partial, if not complete abroagation of that [social] structure”
-plgrmage is “anti-structural”—“always tends towards communitas, a state of unmediated and egalitarian assoc btwn indvs who r temporarily freed from the hierarchal secular roles and statuses which they bear in everyday life”—and this is the pilgrims’ fundamental motivation, tho outside forces prevent this from fully happening, the ideal of plgrmge is to give person back his indvlty and return him to universal
5-tho this has been critiqued b/c most studies using it didn’t find it to b true, so it imposes a homogeneity on it that doesn’t account for “widely differing historical and cultural settings”

-it is really a variety of discourses, understandings and misunderstandings (of others)
So analytical emphasis shifted from gneric positivist accounts of plgmage features to investigating how it and sacred powers r constructed

6-eliade heavily influenced turner, eliade saw shrine as sacred center where divine comes down, tho some places (eg andes) goes wherever appirations appear
7-this can happen via relus leadership emphasizing ppl or of outside influences creating a new emphasis on old mythology
8-or made sacred b/c its embodied in txt (eg x in jeru—tho there may b another reason why the places he walked r sacred)
-tho bowman thinks caths visiting jeru might not even find the sites sacred per se, but r simply going to “verify and materialize the sacred scriptures”

9-for eliade a shrine exudes a predetermined meaning, (10) but many contest this, saying shrines provide a variety of meanings (eg miracle v. the sacrifiece of coming)
10-and church officials (eg Vatican at Lourdes) can promote certain rituals that promote certain views; (11) ppl have diff notions of “boundaries of the sacred” and try to break down ropes, etc.
11-lourdes “perhaps the most tightly controlled and orchestrade [xn shrine], at the levels of both meaning and practice”—others (12) have ritual flagellation
12-and locals have diff view too, usu travel to other shrines; (13) and poll and ntl issues come into play (eg in Jerusalem)
14-diff views of time at shrines: eliadean—ahistoriacl; durkn—historical [too generalized] and (esp in cae of pipio_ while holy ppl r alive ppl c it as focusing on today, history, but when they die the church changes focus to other worldly, timeless—(15) tho indvs do both

16-most shrines’ power comes from their ability to heal—tho this has been a neglected area of study—(17) diff ideas of sickness
18-tension and conflicts btwn pilgrims and staff (eg Lourdes hospital vs sicks’ own strategies)
19-locals may focus on holy persons’s socio-ecoc benefits

21-sri lankan shrine of kataragama has both sick and self-pain (coals, meat hooks)—and while in mid ages plgmge was spiritual penance , for some today the sacrifice is for favor in this life (personal, fam, etc)—(22) for caths, physical suffering to match spiritual sin and anguish of soul, (23) tho priests don’t promote it—and so in the case of the kataragama, priests emphasis on sacrificial view is Eurocentric

24-also $ is made and donated at shrines, (25) also labor is asked for and donated

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