Sociology and Politics and Ritual Practice of Time

The ritual practice of time are to be analysed not only as an intellectual or philosophical but also as a social and political phenomenon. The nature and character of the ceremonial performance, comprising participant performers and observers of various social groups, affect the social meaning and function of the ritual. Determining which social groups were allowed to take part in the ceremonial events is important in deciding the symbolic status and role of the ritual practice of time in the community. This is also an issue of gender, in identifying whether and in what manner women were engaged in this ceremonial practice. The status and role of the religious (ritual) specialists[1] and the people of the community who perform and participate in the ritual of time of the various calendars are accordingly examined. In addition, the ritual practice of time is evidently affiliated to social and economic institutions like for instance agriculture, which importance were crucial in pre-industrial Mesoamerican societies. A sociological analysis of ritual practice of time is moreover intimately connected to power and politics. The ideology of the political, social, economic and military (aristocratic) elite constructs the social patterns and the fundamental temporal conception. A politics of ritual of time symbolically endeavour to influence and control the past and/or the future with the purpose to serve the interests of the nobility either/or the ruling regent.

  • [1] I employ the concept “religious specialist” instead of: “priest”, “prophet”, “medicineman”, “calendar specialist”, “diviner”, “ritual expert”, “magician” etc.
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