Essay Relationships Between Religious Ritual and Social Power

Essay Relationships Between Religious Ritual and Social Power

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The relationship between religious ritual and social power is very complex in its nature. In each society examined thus far religious ritual is intertwined into almost every aspect of life from social taboos to rites in hunting, marriage and an innumerable amount of other cultural aspects. Religious ritual is so interwoven into the fabric of society that separating ritual from the act is often times impossible. In researching this topic I have become aware of two forms of connection that must be addressed to fully cover the idea governing the connection of these principles.
Firstly anthropologists studied here have given us the over arching structural importance of religious ritual to social power in unity and cohesion of ideas provided by such rituals. TO do this though they had to examine the actual rituals in society and the purpose they also serve within the temporal space they occupy.
As a means for unity religious ritual serves to create a workable and functioning society. Religious ritual not only establishes social structure it also reinforces it by serving a political and structural force. Political power and social relationship are strengthened through rituals and in doing so serve to preserve the social order. This is achieved by religious ritual through influence over, and even total control over the politics of a community. Religious ritual also serves as a function to restore peace and harmony and alleviate tension that build up in often changing and imperfect social structures.
Religious ritual and social power can also be evidenced by studying the more intimate aspects on the level of the person rather than of the societal function as a whole. This notion of individual influence and social power obtained b...

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...n Indians Boas was also able to discern participation amongst members of a society in certain ceremonies that are “intended to serve partly political, partly a religious end” (266).
The relationship between religious ritual and social power as it is discussed in this paper is a very intermixed and connected relation. In many instances the separation of actions and ceremonies into strictly the social or religious realm is impossible and the gains from participating in these rituals serve the group as well as the individual. Though social power is not the same as religious ritual they often go hand in hand and in partaking in rituals in the aim achieving a religious end one also affects their political and social standing simultaneously. It is also impossible to ignore the greater function of religious ritual argued within the texts examined.

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