Effects of Kavadi ritual on status management

Authors

KUNDT Radek

Year of publication 2019
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Citation
Description Extreme rituals that involve bodily mutilation and suffering may seem puzzling from an evolutionary perspective. However, in the past two decades, researchers have proposed several potential benefits of participation in extreme rituals related to cooperation, sexual selection, and psychophysiological health. Focusing on the first communicative function, we examined the impact of socio-economic factors on the quality and volume of commitment signaling in the context of the Thaipusam kavadi. We show that participants’ relative position in the social hierarchy affects the form and intensity of ritual signaling. Specifically, low-status males participate more often, endure more piercings, invest more time in preparations, and carry larger structures during the procession. Furthermore, signaling is costlier when there are more opportunities for reception, that is, among individuals who participate in public, compared to private, rituals.
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