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Ritual and Its ConsequencesAn Essay on the Limits of Sincerity$
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Adam B. Seligman, Robert P. Weller, Michael Puett, and Bennett Simon

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195336009

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195336009.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 24 November 2020

 Ritual and Sincerity

 Ritual and Sincerity

(p.103) 4 Ritual and Sincerity
Ritual and Its Consequences

Adam B. Seligman (Contributor Webpage)

Robert P. Weller (Contributor Webpage)

Michael J. Puett (Contributor Webpage)

Bennett Simon (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter turns directly to the tension between sincerity and ritual. Sincerity often appears as a reaction against the perceived hypocrisy of ritual; these reactions in turn tend to ritualize over time. Sincerity offers the world “as is” instead of ritual's “as if”, a world of discursive meanings and unique selves instead of repeated acts and fragmented worlds. Modernity has brought an especially powerful turn toward sincerity. One crucial implication has been a utopian search for wholeness as part of a general dissolution of social boundaries in principle, even as people constantly reassert them in fact. It is suggested that phenomena like “fundamentalism” are more usefully understood in relation to this dynamic than the more usual claim that they are returns to tradition.

Keywords:   fundamentalism, wholeness, utopia, social boundaries, tradition

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