Re: Rituals in culture

Marc W.D. Tyrrell (
Sat, 9 Sep 1995 20:20:24 GMT

In article <> Hardig <> writes:
>From: Hardig <>
>Subject: Rituals in culture
>Date: Sat, 9 Sep 1995 23:31:22 GMT

> Since the principle reason for culture is to sustain and
>perpetuate populations and is the tool people learn to surive, could
>rituals persistance throughout time and peoples be due to a function it

Why sound so surprised by the question <grin>? that same answer was given 100
years ago. Also, why do you assume that "the principle reason for culture is
to sustain and perpetuate populations"?

>Regardless of its origin, the way it is performed, of the philosophy behind
>them, or where it is practiced, why is this a common thread that runs through
>all cultures past and present? If so, what is the function or need that
>rituals fulfill? Has there been any basic or cross-cultural studies done on
>this? I would be truly fascinated to hear any theories.

There have been literally tons of studies on ritual. You might want to check
out the bibliography compiled by Ronald Grimes in 1985, which lists about 500+

As to the function fulfilled by any given ritual, that depends on the type of
ritual. For example, there are rites of passage (brith, death, marriage,
initiation), rites of degredation (e.g. courts martial), etc.


Marc W.D. Tyrrell
Department of Sociology and Anthropology,
7th Floor, Loeb Building,
Carleton University, Vox: (613) 746-2924
1125 Colonel By Drive, Fax: (613) 788-4062
Ottawa, Ontario email: