Ritual and social networks: Measuring the costs and benefits of religious ritual in Mauritius

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MAŇO Peter

Year of publication 2014
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description The topic of my PhD is the relationship between social position and participation in religious rituals. I will conduct research among the Marathi Hindu community in Mauritius, focusing mainly on the Ganesh-chaturthi festival, which is dedicated to the anniversary of lord Ganesh. Participation in the festival requires considerable energetic, time and financial investments and preparations can take several weeks. My prediction is that people at the social periphery will invest more in the ritual in efforts to better their social position. Conversely, people who are already in central positions in the social network will be less motivated and expend less energy in the ritual. One of the main tasks of my fieldwork will be to calculate costs and benefits of ritual participation. Specifically, I will try to get as precise measurements of costs as possible –temporal, financial and physiological costs. I will measure social position with indicators like wealth, education, age etc. and also via people’s testimonies about others. My goal will be to create a social network map which will show family, friendship and professional relations among people. Crucially, I will attempt to examine how the network is shaped and the kinds of information that is delivered through the various network nodes. Finally, I will compare ritual investments and social network positioning.
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