Ritual as Education Concerning Social Space and Time

  • Mark J. CherryEmail author
Part of the Philosophical Studies in Contemporary Culture book series (PSCC, volume 21)


Humans do not live simply within a physical intersection of space and time. Religious and cultural rituals locate persons within particular communities of knowers and educate persons regarding the community’s core metaphysical, epistemological, cultural, and moral paradigms. Rituals demarcate and teach understandings of and approaches to reality; that is, rituals frame human life within specific paradigms and social spaces, orienting persons to truth claims about the world. The term “ritual” is richly ambiguous—identifying clusters of social phenomena and cultural practices often associated because of family resemblances. Throughout the chapter, I draw on sociological and anthropological accounts of religious and cultural rituals to illustrate the analysis. However, academic accounts of rituals necessarily truncate the phenomena they analyze. Traditional rituals are lived experiential practices, interacting with reality in facets beyond the ability of academic discursive analysis to conceptualize. Rituals embody canonical understandings regarding the nature and meaning of the cosmos and of man’s place within it.


Ritual History Social space Traditions 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophySt. Edward’s UniversityAustinUSA

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