Violence and Rituals

Nils Zurawski (zurawsk@UNI-MUENSTER.DE)
Tue, 7 Mar 1995 19:40:12 +0100

So,e time ago I already asked for literatur and /or hints concerning
violence and rituals. This time it won't be merely questions for more books
on the subject, but some thought I have and then of course some

The french ethnologist Pierre Clastres , who worked in South America a lot
and did his research among some rain forest societies, made some
observations and analysis on certai rituals and habits in these societies.
He saw in the violent, torture rituals these people had a way to write down
the law of the scietiy/community on the body of the single person. But more
than that he said, it is a way to make sure everybody is equal among the
others in the society. these societie are societies against the state, the
rituals are there to remind everybody of that fact. He refered to Kafkas
"In der Strafkolonie" (I don't know the english title).

My assmptions from what I read so far are that there is violence in almost
every society differntly controlled. that is either though education or
rituals, myths or laws and habits.

My interst is esspecially in the ritual side of violence. What are the
functions? Why is that that some have it and some do not?
And that not only for
"triba-/primitiv-aricultural-whatever-you-like-to-call-them-societies, but
for the western-industrialized as well.
There is a lot of iolence in our societies, between the state and
individuals and between individuals and groups /gangs etc.
What makes this violence dfferent from that in rituals, did we loose all of
our control mechanisms, e.g. rituals? (The Durkheimian concept of Anomie
comes into play here).
What about fraternerties, gangs, sportsclubs and the like?
What about everyday violence in our societies?

What is good, what is bad?
What is needed?
Where does it go out of hand and why? That goes for the western as well as
for the non-western societies as well, because they are not the perfect
societies as some people o this list are sometimes trying to suggest....

Suggestions, hints, books, discussion wanted and encouraged.



(Excuse my English at some points in this post, but I am not a native
speaker, and not always sure if I am right or not...)