This paper reviews a particular class of rituals related to substantial biological and social changes in all individuals’ lives, otherwise known as ‘rites of passage’ according to Arnold van Gennep, who was the first to name and analyze them in his famous anthropological…
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seen the extent of shrinking (if any) of the specific, and why not crucial, role that they have played in forming and supporting the stability of those communities, and societies in question, in the context of the global social change.
The paper argues that due to the more and more accelerating process of global culture change, driven by the steadily increasing contact between cultures and societies worldwide (whose first timid steps could be sought at some point in the distant Middle Ages), more or less, all existing societies have been heavily influenced in the sense of altering social dynamics and promoting new cultural models. This paper argues as well, that the phenomenon of cultural diffusion, first conceptualized by the influential American anthropologist Alfred L. Kroeber and fueled by the patterns of change for the world in the last several decades, is drifting the contemporary civilization toward creation of a global multicultural society with its own universal cultural form and content, including a new set of appropriate rituals, but also containing the traditional cultural patterns of its constituent communities. Given the aforesaid, the paper advocates the idea that the traditional tribal or religion-born rituals, in particular those with initiation meaning and function, though inevitably affected by the social shifts, will keep on playing an important role not just as an indicator of affiliation to a particular community, but also as a structurally bracing part of any community’s organism.
Since the very dawn of the simplest human societies, even before the earliest civilizations to emerge, the rituals had taken up an immense room within the core and foundation of each of those societies. This is especially true for a particular class of rituals, which pervasively attend throughout the whole life cycle of an individual - male or female; named, analyzed and characterized for the first time by Arnold van Gennep as ‘rites of passage’- in his
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