Ritualization

Ritualization

[rich-oo-uh-luh-zey-shuhn]
Ritualization is a behavior that occurs typically in the member of a given species in a highly stereotyped fashion and independent of any direct physiological significance.

Ritualization is also associated with the work of the religious studies scholar Catherine Bell. Bell, drawing on the Practice Theory of Pierre Bourdieu, has taken a less functional view of ritual with her elaboration of ritualization. More recently scholars interested in the cognitive science of religion such as Pascal Boyer, Pierre Liénard, and William W. McCorkle Jr. have been involved in experimental, ethnographic, and archival research on how ritualized actions might inform the study of ritualization and ritual forms of action. Boyer, Liénard, and McCorkle argue that ritualized compulsions are in relation to an evolved cognitive architecture where social, cultural, and environmental selection pressures stimulate "hazard-precaution" systems such as predation, contagion, and disgust in human minds. Furthermore, McCorkle advances the hypothesis that these ritualized compulsions (especially in regards to dead bodies vis-à-vis, mortuary behavior) were turned into ritual scripts by professional guilds only several thousand years ago with advancement in technology such as the domestication of plants and animals, literacy, and writing.

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