Models and Mirrors: Towards an Anthropology of Public Events

Models and Mirrors: Towards an Anthropology of Public Events

Don Handelman

Language: English

Pages: 342

ISBN: 0521350697

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

In this comparative study of public events, Professor Handelman investigates rituals as epistemological phenomena in their own right. He argues that any public event - including both ritual and related occasions - must first be comprehended through the logic of its design.

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the likelihood that its practitioners consciously will recognize in concert that it constitutes a distinct phenomenon, and so will become self-conscious about their relationships to it, and through it. In turn, this self-consciousness will enable participants to alter the form of occasion in directed ways, and so to change its enactment. Therefore, the more structured is the form of occasion, the more potentially malleable it becomes through practice. Nonetheless, these sorts of open-ended

latter responded in kind, without animosity. The performance was enjoyed by all. The negation of rigid, class hierarchy and the exuberant exhortation of tribalism and social mobility, re-presented aspects of the wider urban world within the Dance. One can argue that the Dance reified the phenomenal and existential import of tribalism and class mobility in ways that still were embryonic in the mundane life of the towns. Thus Kale/a isolated and represented playfully certain distinctions, their

your penis for a donkey's tail'. Shlomo: 'I'll cut off your balls to hang in the women's toilet'. The women averted their heads. Zackaria embraced Shlomo, and they pummelled one another, giggling and chuckling. In the context of the shop, this interchange expressed the mutual acceptance of absurd identities. Although its overtones were aggressive and hostile, the exchange was embedded in a relationship of friendship, and it likely commented on the place of these men in the shop. The fantastic

late afternoon the three took turns making the trip to the fourth floor vending machine to buy drinks for one another. The hours ending the working day were staggered: Sammy left first, followed by Ike, and then George. Throughout the working day, interspersed between 'times', the three engaged in what Roy called 'themes': acts of kidding, joking, prank, and horseplay. Unlike 'times', 'themes' had no particular order, although their form often was repeated. So, whenever Sammy went to get a drink

one aspect of the puzzle of the model's autonomy can be related to the holism of its systemic organization. This is especially prominent in the event-that-models. But the idea of the model, with its deep, systemic recursiveness, also points in the direction of what is called a 'moebius surface' (Rosen 1994: 7-12), or a 'moebius strip'. This deceptively simple, geometric conundrum creates and exists through an ongoing condition of'becoming' that is most significant for public events that do

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