[xmca] chat analysis of ritual

From: Mike Cole (lchcmike@gmail.com)
Date: Sat Feb 25 2006 - 08:31:37 PST

Thanks to all who have responded to my query about ritual mediators. There
were a number
of examples I would not have thought of, and the examples given helped me to
sharpen what
I think the question is.

The case under consideration is a religious ritual which caught my student's
attention because
it was claimed that participation gave unmediated access to sacred
knowlege/state of grace (I
am almost certainly getting this wrong in detail, but this is how I
understood it). Yet, from ethnographic
reports there appear to be several really interesting forms of mediation

To develop an analysis from a chat perspective, one would presumably want to
know something about the
object of the ritual activity, or perhaps posit some more inclusive level of
analysis in which the ritual is
analyzed as medating activity and the social rules, division of labor, etc
in the larger unit need to analyzed.

Peg's suggestion of the chapter from *Construction Zone* about how the west
was won put me in mind of the
ritual we call "Question-asking-reading" which mediated activity in a system
called "Field College," an afterschool
program. I have ordinarily sought to analyze QAR as the unit of analysis and
to study mediation, division of labor,
etc within it. But if is it "blackboxed" as a mediating tool to achieve the
object of the activity called Field College,
other data would have to be brought to bear.

I think I am asking a question similar to this about a particular religious
ritual. I believe it could be analyzed as an activity,
but perhaps a large social context ought to be the focus of attention.

Any and all thoughts on this appreciated.
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