Symbols are a part of rituals, and people use them to bring peace and order out of chaos. It is also interesting to note that symbols are deemed as naturally give, not as a construct of society, they seem as something completely natural. It is the symbols that give people a way to understand the world, but it is the people who can alter and evolve the meaning of symbols. (Kertzer, 1988)
So how do symbols have any influence on politics? By identifying with or creating a symbol, it is quite often easier to remain in a place of power. Symbols just as nationality can play a vital role in political processes, interventions, and revolutions. Many symbols make it easier to understand concepts, such as government, iron curtain, free world. Symbols ought to be studied in qualitative terms, since people are symbol producers and users, and it is impossible to measure its usage in numeric ways.
So how do rituals come into this? We can characterize them as analytical framworks through which people deal with chaos of their existence and put into order. Rituals are repetitive and socially standardized behaviours. Not all standardized and repetitive actions are rituals, if they lack the symbolic element, they are mere habits or customs. Ritual also help to connect the aspects of past, present, and future, taming...
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...societies, and one which are not that well educated. Rituals can flourish where there is a conflict and where people accept social order. Also without rituals, symbols, or rites, no nations could exist.
People's emotional involvement in rites is very important. Like in Soviet Russia, its leaders had to come up with different national holiday and create a link between them and the people, otherwise they knew that people would have a hard time getting used to their new symbols and ideals, and it would all fall apart. Political Rites can help us in eliminating fear. People will always be influenced by emotions and will never be able to make the right judgement. Raising of flags, anti-faschist revolutions, national anthem and many more are inextricable symbols of our existence.
Kertzer,D. (1988) Ritual, politics and power, Yale University, ss.1-15, 174-184
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