Show Summary Details
Page of

date: 27 January 2022

p. 1Introductionlocked

p. 1Introductionlocked

  • Barry Stephenson


The ‘Introduction’ asks what is ritual? Is ritual useful? What are the various kinds of ritual? It suggests that to think about ritual is to reflect on human nature, sociality, and culture. It is also to explore ritual's place, power, and potential in our lives and our society. Ritual includes both religious and nonreligious rites, the traditional and the new, the prescribed and the improvised, the human and nonhuman, and rubs up against a number of other cultural domains, such as play, games, performance, and theater. If ritual is action, it is also an idea, something we think with, and our exploration will move back and forth between these two dimensions.

Access to the complete content on Very Short Introductions online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.