Ritual exegesis among Mauritian Hindus



Year of publication 2022
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Religion
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Web https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/0048721X.2022.2042418
Doi http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0048721X.2022.2042418
Keywords Ritual; exegesis; Mauritius; Hinduism; religion
Description Practitioners reflections on the purpose and meaning of ritual actions are often assumed to be limited, absent, or irrelevant. As a result, many anthropological analyses overlook or brush away native explanations. While it is true that ritual exegesis can often be scarce, the current paper rather focuses on some of the conditions that favor its presence and on exploring the diversity in its forms across different types of rituals. Specifically, we used cultural domain analysis to examine cultural models of exegesis for six rituals practiced by Mauritian Hindus. We show that ritual structure affects exegetical reflection, such that costlier rituals tend to elicit a greater volume and thematic range of exegesis. Moreover, different types of rituals are associated with different functions, with costlier rituals being linked to more pressing concerns. We discuss the relevance of our data for the Mauritian context, as well as for broader anthropological theories of ritual.
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