Asian Highlands Perspectives
Manners and customs (General)
History of Asia
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AbstractFeaturing Buddhist ritual life in its diverse manifestations across the Tibetan Plateau, this volume engages the task of defining 'ritual' by analyzing moments of ritual change. Whether political regime change, technological innovation, or social upheaval, external catalysts of religious transformation have been prominently visible in the Tibetan cultural world since the mid-twentieth century. This volume takes up the sociopolitical shifts of the recent period as a call to investigate how rituals change under fire, thereby furthering our understanding of the relationship between ritual structures and the historical contexts in which they find expression. Ritual's intertwinement with political events, symbols, and attitudes is the resounding theme presented herein, as each chapter makes efforts to disambiguate the complex causes and contours of ritual change in a particular case study. Several chapters seek to distinguish deep structural transformation in ritual from the harnessing of ritual elements for single instances of political or social action. Others debate the ambiguous role of spaces, practices, or ideas that are employed in ritual but also in political or economic contexts. Finally, each chapter challenges in some way the polarization of ritual conservatism and the 'invention of tradition' (Ranger and Hobsbawm 1983).