Re: [xmca] chat analysis of ritual

From: Kevin Rocap (
Date: Sat Feb 25 2006 - 08:43:34 PST

Dear Mike, seems to me this is a Kierkegaardian dilemma of sorts,
no? If someone is in an unmediated relationship (absolute relationship)
with God/the Absolute/the Sacred, etc. No one else can hope to gain
"insider" knowledge of that, right? We can only observe and, sure, it
will look mediated to us, but......

It seems to me it is a faith claim and is not susceptible to experiment
or external inquiry, no? (except perhaps by skeptics and infidels, whom
I'm sure must lurk on here somewhere ;-)) So I look forward to their
suggestions. ;-)

In Peace,

Mike Cole wrote:
> 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
> involved.
> 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.
> mike
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