From Blessing to Violence by Maurice Bloch
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From Blessing to Violence
By Maurice Bloch

From Blessing to Violence

History and Ideology in the Circumcision Ritual of the Merina

By (author) See other recent books by Maurice Bloch
Series edited by Meyer Fortes See other recent books by Meyer Fortes See other recent books by Edmund Leach
Format: Paperback

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From Blessing to Violence by Maurice Bloch

Book Description

The circumcision ritual of the Merina of Madagascar is seen by them primarily as a blessing, involving the transfer of the love and concern of the ancestors of their descendants. Yet the ritual ends in an act of ciolent wounding of the child. Similarily, while the ritual involves a symbolic assault on women, it is nonetheless welcomed by them as a mark of receiving the blessing of the ancestors. In this book, Maurice Bloch provides a detailed description and analysis of the Merina circumcision ritual today, offers an account of its history, and discusses the significance of his analysis for anthropological theories of ritual in general. Pursuing the theme of the combination of religious joy and illumination with violence, Professor Bloch explains how, at various times, the circumcision ceremony can be a familial ritual as well as glorification of a militarist and expansionist state, or associated with anti-colonial nationalism. Describing changes that have occurred in the form of the ritual over two centuries, Professor Bloch argues that in order to understand the properties of ritual in general, it is necessary to view it over a longer time scale than anthropologists have tended to do previously. Adopting such an historical perspective enables him to identify the stability of the Merina ritual's symbolic content, despite changes in its organisation, and dramatically changing politico-economic contexts. As well as presenting an original historical approach to the anthropological study of ritua;, Professor Bloch discusses a range of general theoretical issues, including the nature of ideology, and the relationship between images created in ritual and other types of knowledge. The book will appeal widely to scholars and students of anthropology, history, African studies, and comparative religion.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780521314046
ISBN-10: 0521314046
Format: Paperback
(228mm x 152mm x 13mm)
Pages: 228
Imprint: Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publish Date: 30-Apr-1986
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Other Editions...


Books By Author Maurice Bloch

In and Out of Each Other's Bodies by Maurice Bloch In and Out of Each Other's Bodies, Paperback (October 2013)

Fascinating and deep exploration into the nature of the social. How humans relate to each other psychologically, symbolically and culturally.

In and Out of Each Others' Bodies by Maurice Bloch In and Out of Each Others' Bodies, Hardback (June 2012)

Fascinating and deep exploration into the nature of the social. How humans relate to each other psychologically, symbolically and culturally.

Anthropology and the Cognitive Challenge by Maurice Bloch Anthropology and the Cognitive Challenge, Hardback (June 2012)

One of the world's most distinguished anthropologists proposes that cognitive science enriches, rather than threatens, the work of social scientists.

Essays on Cultural Transmission by Maurice Bloch Essays on Cultural Transmission, Hardback (July 2005)

This book brings together recent work by Maurice Bloch which explores the highly controversial territory between the cognitive and social sciences. The essays are of broad, theoretical interest and aim to combine naturalistic approaches to cognition with a recognition and respect for the cultural and historical specificity of ethnography.

» View all books by Maurice Bloch

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Recent books by Maurice Bloch close
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