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Ritual Disrobement at Mardi Gras

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Ritual Disrobement at Mardi Gras Ceremonial Exchange and Moral Order Research Questions How does ritual develop? Why does it take the general form it does? – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Ritual Disrobement at Mardi Gras


1
Ritual Disrobement at Mardi Gras
  • Ceremonial Exchange and Moral Order

2
Research Questions
  • How does ritual develop?
  • Why does it take the general form it does?
  • What accounts for variation in ritual
    performances?

3
Research Questions
  • Where are the ceremonial exchange rituals in
    modern society?
  • How do they develop and how are they organized?

4
Delineation
  • Symbolic Interactionism

5
Delineation
  • Ritual
  • Rituals embedded in ceremonial gatherings are
    central to social integration. Durkheim (1912)
    argued that everyday life is different in
    important ways from sacred times ritual helps
    to define the sacred realm and set it apart from
    the defiling elements of the profane (p. 424).

6
Delineation
  • Ritual
  • Goffman (1967) and Collins (1988) extended the
    study of ritual to everyday life, focusing on
    social practices that produce and maintain trust,
    but their work owes much to the anthropologists
    who first described ceremonial exchange (424).

7
Delineation
  • Ritual
  • Boas (1966) Levi-Strauss (1969), Malinowski
    (1922), and Mauss (1967) pioneered this concept
    in the context of premodern societies as a way of
    describing transactions that occur for symbolic
    and ultimately social ends rather than
    utilitarian value (p. 424).

8
Method (section 1)
  • In the first section of the article the
    development of the command and market paradigms
    is examined in the social and historical context
    of pre-Lenten celebrations. This exploration of
    ritual origins is based on documents and
    interviews with New Orleans residents and
    merchants, festival participants, and police
    officers (p. 425).

9
Method (section 2)
  • In the second section, the general forms of
    gifting and disrobement in the French Quarter are
    described through a sample of videotaped behavior
    at Mardi Gras (p. 425).

10
Method (section 2)
  • Defining temporal and spatial parameters.
  • Describing the instrumentation.
  • Describing the coding method.
  • Describing variables.
  • Structural, status, group, behavior, and
    appearance variables (see pg. 433).

11
Method (section 3)
  • In the third section, we account for observed
    differences in ritual actions by analyzing these
    performances in terms of gender, hierarchy,
    impression management, and ritual ordering (p.
    425).

12
Results
13
Results
14
Results
15
Results
16
Results
17
Results
18
Results
19
Conclusions
  • Paradigms
  • The command paradigm
  • The market paradigm
  • The veneration paradigm

20
Conclusions
  • In the case of Mardi Gras, new forms of exchange
    emerged as an alternative to traditional gifting,
    establishing a new ritual order that is first and
    foremost a symbolic expression of moral
    commitment to the market in the profane, everyday
    world.

21
Conclusions
  • Since disrobement is a form of deviant action,
    its performance may be legitimized by the
    resourceful acquisition of a generalized medium,
    the currency of the symbolic universe (p. 429).

22
Conclusions
  • The timing of exchange, therefore, is massively
    affected by the location of the performer (p.
    443).

23
Conclusions
  • Women may enter the economic marketplace and the
    competition for wealth, but while they will be
    permitted a moderate level of aggressiveness
    toward men, they remain on a pedestal for men to
    worship and control as sexual objects (p. 449).

24
Conclusions
  • We argue that the practices surrounding public
    disrobement and gifting at Mardi Gras can best be
    understood as a group of related ritual paradigms
    organized in terms of markets, gender, and
    hierarchy (p. 444).

25
Conclusions
  • Our interpretation hinges on three points. (1)
    Ceremonial exchange is not simply unstructured
    hedonism but a ritualized enactment of the
    economic markets that characterize contemporary
    society. (2) Freedom of choice and negotiations
    over value are essential to ritual based on
    market paradigm.

26
Conclusions
  • (3) Variability in performance is important to
    the multivocality of ritual, expressing the
    diversity of contemporary gender relations (p.
    444).
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