Re: mutilation and ritual

Dwight W. Read (dread@ANTHRO.UCLA.EDU)
Fri, 5 Jul 1996 01:28:20 -0700

McCreery writes:

>"... this "deep structure" vs.
>"surface structure" stuff doesn't work this way. Whether you go for Chomsky
>or Jung, the "deep" stuff is pan-human and will be there just as much in
>the modern primitives as it is in the real thing. What's lacking in the
>modern primitives is the social and cultural context that informed the
>rites in their original setting.

There's a bit of a mix-up here. My assertion that "fashionable tattooing"
in the West may be surface structure without deep structure (i.e., it is
imitation of the surface, outward manifestation of ritualized, symbolic
behavior) does not entail the absence of the phenomenon of deep structure
in the West, only that "fashionable tattooing" in the West, by virtue of it
being imitative behavior, lacks a "deep structure," hence the absence of
symbolism, ritual, etc. with "fashionable tattooing" is not surprising. I
suspect that if one pushes hard enough, McCreery's "social and cultural
context that informed the rites" would start to look suspiciously like deep

D. Read