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Performance, émotion et ritualisation — 3

13 février 2017
Nouvelles approches cognitives de l'action rituelle

Caroline Humphrey and James Laidlaw,
The Archetypal Actions of Ritual.
A theory of ritual illustrated by the Jain rite of worship,

Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1994

Dans la Bibliothèque Tessitures:
Arts de parole et performance > Rituel

Objet du débat:
Est-ce l'intention de l'officiant ou du dévôt qui donne aux rites et aux rituels leur signification? Quel rôle jouent la cognition et l'intentionnalité des agents dans la ritualisation de certains des actes qu'ils accomplissent?

(p. 2) [We] shall claim that the ritual actions of pūjā [en sanskrit, «culte» rendu à une divinité] do not convey 'a meaning', and that anthropologists have been mistaken in thinking that the communication of meanings is distinctive or definitional of ritual; but it must be emphasized that while our Jain friends' comments helped us to reach our views, we are not involved in the same kind of argument as they are and we are not saying the same thing. We argue below that ritualization severs the link, present in everyday activity, between the 'intentional meaning' of the agent and the identity of the act which he or she performs. The Jains, on the other hand, were using the word 'meaning' in a religious sense. All rites and rituals (vidhi-vidhāna [en sanskrit, littéralement «l'accomplissement des actes rituels»]), we were told, are mere 'empty ritual'. They are 'external' actions and therefore irrelevant to an understanding of the transformation of the soul which, our respondents insisted, is the heart of Jainism. It was to this end that they claimed that meanings must be put into ritual, to infuse its emptiness with spiritual significance. This, it was agreed, is no easy or straightforward matter: the meanings should come from inside the self and some people are more spiritually gifted and so better at this than others. Thus the chapters which follow will explore two distinct, but in this case ethnographically related problems about meaning in ritual. Our own discussion of the senses in which ritualized actions can be said to have (or not to have) meaning, will be interleaved with, and we hope will illuminate, an ethnographic account of the Jain pūjā, and of the distinct Jain sense of what meaning is in ritual, as an input which is spiritually significant.

Cette approche cognitive des actions rituelles est née dans les années 1980. La thèse des anthropologues cognitivistes est que la religiosité est un produit de l'évolution et s'enracine dans la prédisposition innée à attribuer une intentionnalité et une agentivité (agency) aux objets inanimés et aux événements qui nous entourent. Mais Humphrey et Laidlaw n'entrent pas directement dans cette problématique cognitiviste. Ils développent seulement l'un des corollaires de la thèse de la religiosité comme prédisposition innée: le dévot ou l'officiant accomplissant un rite se conforme à un script de l'action rituelle, à un protocole, à des règles fixées d'avance qui s'imposent à lui comme une réalité objective dont il a connaissance, consciemment ou inconsciemment.

Compléments sur les approches cognitives

Dans la Bibliothèque Tessitures:
Arts de parole et performance > Rituel

Frits Staal, The Meaninglessness of Ritual, Numen, Vol.26, Fasc.1 (Jun., 1979), pp.2–22. Première d'une très riche série de publications sur ce thème, en partie disponibles dans la Bibliothèque Ganapati.

Caroline Humphrey, and James Laidlaw, Sacrifice and ritualization, The Archaeology of Ritual 3 (2007): 255–276.

Harvey Whitehouse, Arguments and Icons: Divergent Modes of Religiosity, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2000.

Harvey, Whitehouse, Book Review Forum of Arguments and Icons: Divergent Modes of Religiosity. Reviews of Whitehouse's book by: Brian Malley, Pascal Boyer, Fredrik Barth, Michael Houseman, Robert N. McCauley, Luther H. Martin, Tom Sjoblom, and Garry W. Trompf. Reply to reviews by Harvey Whitehouse. Journal of Ritual Studies 16.2 (2002): 4–59.

Approches performatives des années 1960

Dans la Bibliothèque Tessitures:
Arts de parole et performance > Rituel

Erving Goffman, Interaction Ritual. Essays on Face-to-Face Behavior, New York, Pantheon Books, 1967; tr. fr. Les Rites d'interaction, Paris, Minuit, 1974. Rites de présentation et rites d'évitement. Retour à Durkheim dans le Chapitre 2 (The Nature of Deference and Demeanor).

Frédéric Keck, Goffman, Durkheim et les rites de la vie quotidienne, Archives de Philosophie 75.3 (2012): 471–492.

Victor W. Turner, The Ritual Process. Structure and Anti-Structure, New York, Aldine, 1969. Le mot et le concept de performance imprègnent l'analyse en contrepoint du concept de structure.

Stanley J. Tambiah, A Performative Approach to Ritual, Proceedings of the British Academy 1979 65 (1981): 113–169. Repris dans S. J. Tambiah, Culture, Thought, and Social Action. An Anthropological Perspective, Cambridge Mass., Harvard University Press, 1985.