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Horizontes Antropológicos

Print version ISSN 0104-7183


CAVALCANTI, Maria Laura Viveiros de Castro. Luzes e sombras no dia social: o símbolo ritual em Victor Turner. Horiz. antropol. [online]. 2012, vol.18, n.37, pp. 103-131. ISSN 0104-7183.

Ritual is one of Victor Turner's main themes. The author's interest in the subject emerges since his early works based in the fieldwork among the Lunda-Ndembu in the 1950's. The paper examines Turner's approach to ritual in this initial phase of his career and takes the concept of ritual symbol as a guideline. This concept encapsulates the core aspects of Turner's view of ritual and is examined "in action", that means in its movement through different texts. The ritual symbol is seen as one locus of Turner's work in which his efforts of conceptualization are strongly associated with his keen ethnographic sense of ritual. With this notion, Turner articulated cognitive and experiential dimensions of social life, and sought to unravel its unconscious dimensions. Turner's development of a semantic and hermeneutic approach to the ritual symbol emerges as a compromise between two quite different directions of his thought: his metaphysical and religious tendencies and his movements towards Freudian psychoanalytic formulations.

Keywords : ethnography; ritual; symbol; Victor Turner.

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