Thoughts on The Notions Ritual and Rituality and The Semantic Alteration of Rituality


MILLI FOLKLOR, vol.17, no.131, pp.123-130, 2021 (Journal Indexed in AHCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 17 Issue: 131
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Title of Journal : MILLI FOLKLOR
  • Page Numbers: pp.123-130
  • Keywords: Jean-Yves Dartiguenave, Rites et Ritualite Essai sur l'alteration semantique de la ritualite, ritual, rituality, naturalization/culturalization


Ritualistic behaviours and rituality appear as an essential component of social life and a distinguishing quality of human behaviour. It is known that, from the end of the 19th century, the concepts of ritual and rituality are at the core of the studies carried on in different fields like sociology, cultural anthropology, ethnology, theology and psycho-sociology. Within this context, sometimes their relation to the sacred is emphasised (Durkheim), at times they are defined as symbolic acts (Mauss), at some other they are put forward as institutional action (Bourdieu), and from time to time classified as rites of passage (Van Gennep). In all these contexts, it is observed that these ritual behaviours are evolved and renewed in parallel with the historical and social changes. The ritual behaviours that disappeared in the course of this change can even be mentioned. However, in each case, they continue to be an undeniable quality of human behaviour. Accordingly, interpreting and explaining human behaviours in the process of their change and disappearance becomes inevitable. Understanding this process makes it essential to comprehend and to correctly correlate some of the terms. It is within this framework that, Ritual and Rituality, the book by the French sociologist Jean-Yves Dartiguenave, who works on "contemporary rituality," takes on a very important task. In this work, from a phenomenological perspective and mostly with semantic representations, Dartiguenave attempts at placing the processes of rituality on a theoretical basis through concepts, and with an anthropologic attitude rather than a sociological one, takes care in positioning the epistemological basis of rituality on Gagnepain's theory of mediation. The researcher who works on the relation between the concepts such as ritual, rituality, ritualistic and some other terms relevant to them (rationality, otherness, culturalization), takes the semantic change, divergence of rituality as a process. According to Dartiguenave, what is naturally ritualized is the process of culturalization. He does not put forward culturalization as a process to change the values and patterns of behaviour in society, but as a process of a person's giving meaning to a natural data. Therefore, culturalization enables diversity, to make sense of social relations, a new possibility of process of reconciliation. While comprehending rituality in its inherent logic, the researcher leaving aside a structural-functional point of view and the so far accepted definitions of ritual and rituality, puts the relation between nature and culture to the centre. In this study, the process that is seen as reinterpretation and appropriation by Jean-Yves Dartiguenave and the process of culturalization of the natural, and the changes, divergences, alterations of the concept/concepts related to it, along their reasons will be discussed, ritual's movement away from being a social form when it loses its main function in establishing bond with the other, and therefore, its meaning, Ritual's separation from its known context under new conditions, but that weakening of belief and deterioration of symbolic meaning are not enough in its total disappearance, and that the rituals are problematized, will also be underlined, with emphasis on the fact that the conceptual operation of rituality is not far from a process of intertextuality and interdiscursivity.