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Uses of keyword ‘practices’ in four media anthropological collections

(complete set)
Tools used: Google Books search engine + physical books

Aim: to record and analyse the mainstream media anthropological uses of the key notion of
‘practices’ as part of preparation for introductory chapter to volume Bräuchler, B. and J.
Postill (eds) (forthcoming) Theorising Media and Practice. Oxford and New York:

John Postill
Sheffield Hallam University
30 Jul. 08

Book 1: Ginsburg, F.D., L. Abu-Lughod and B. Larkin (eds.). 2002. Media worlds.
Anthropology on new terrain. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Ginsburg, Abu-Lughod and Larkin

p. 1 ‘we have attempted to use anthropology to push media studies into new environments
and examine diverse media practices that are only beginning to be mapped’

p. 1 TV watching occurs ‘as part of “a set of daily practices and discourses…through which
that complex act is itself constituted” ([Silverstone] 1994: 133)

p 2 ‘…wider concept of ethnography that gives us purchase on the wider social fields within
which media practices operate’

p. 2 Western media theory ‘has established a cultural grid of media theory with the effect of
bringing into visibility only certain types of media technologies and practices’

p. 4 ‘This revisionist work in visual anthropology also draws on postcolonial studies (as well
as film practices) addressing the complexities of cross-cultural representation…, as well as
minority…, diasporic…, and small media practices’

p. 5 ‘Many anthropologists found media a rich site for research on cultural practices and

p. 6 ‘This [Appadurai-inspired] argument… challenges the ontology of the text, arguing

instead that the meaning of texts and objects is enacted through practices of reception’

p. 6 ‘Through grounded analyses of the practices, cultural worlds, and even fantasies of social
actors … we have begun to unbundle assumptions regarding the political economy and social
relations shaping media production, circulation and reception, and the impacts of media
technologies themselves’

p. 7 ‘the different kinds of media practices represented in this volume can be placed on a
sociopolitical continuum reflected in the different sections of the book’

p. 7 ‘On one end are the more classic formations of mass media produced through large
governmental and commercial institutions intent on constituting modern citizens and
consumers. …In the middle range are more reflexive processes [related to] a variety of
subaltern social and cosmological worlds. … On the other end are more self-conscious
practices, often linked to social movements, in which cultural material is used and
strategically deployed as part of a broader project of political empowerment by indigenous
and other disenfranchised groups…’

p. 8 Cultural activism is ‘part of a spectrum of practices of self-conscious mediation and

mobilization of culture that took shape beginning in the late twentieth century…’

p. 8 Small indigenous media initiatives are ‘particularly well suited for anthropological
inquiry’ as they ‘occupy a comfortable position of difference from dominant cultural
assumptions about media aesthetics and practices’

p. 9 Some anthropologists alarmed at spread of media into indigenous societies; ‘they see
these new practices as destructive of cultural difference and the study of such work as “ersatz

p. 14 Abu Lughod points out that ‘even those [Egyptian] viewers most involved with
television participate in other social institutions and engage in other practices, most notably
of contemporary religious groups, that powerfully reorient subjectivity. If the messages of
television “go wrong”, they do so in patterned ways linked to the larger social fields that offer
audiences other interpretive frameworks’.

p. 23 ‘Anthropologists now recognize that we are implicated in the representational practices

of those we study’

p. 23 ‘This book explores the dynamics of all these social processes of media consumption,
production, circulation, and theorizing while making a strong case for the new kinds of
knowledge to be gained from ethnographic work that studies practices in “out-of-the-way
places” (Tsing 1994)’

p. 23 ‘Our work also underscores that oppositional logics are insufficient for grasping media
practices; rather, our models must allow for the simultaneity of hegemonic and anti-
hegemonic effects…’

1 Screen Memories

p. 43 ‘There are those who argue that television of any sort is inherently destructive to Inuit
(and other indigenous) lives and cultural practices’

p. 43 Yet for indigenous media producers themselves ‘these media practices are part of a
broader project of constituting a cultural future’

p. 52 ‘Tracking these emergent media practices, one can see how they have developed in
relation to Aboriginal concerns and national policies’

2 Visual Media and the Primitivist Perplex

H. Prins
p. 67 ‘Revisiting the [Mi’kmaq] community in 1999, I experienced a peculiar form of culture
shock….Last but not least, the community had rekindled some long-neglected Mi’kmaq
cultural practices’

p. 67 ‘… the Plains Apache film project is about an indigenous dilemma of self-

representation, in which a tribe’s decision to document certain cultural practices is at odds
with their own conventions of keeping such traditions under wraps’
cultural practices = traditions

4. Spectacles of Difference
M. McLagan

p. 106 ‘I take the social practices involved in managing this difference [between Western and
Tibetan media frames] through media forms that cross cultural boundaries to be a vital form
of cultural production that remains little understood outside of media circles’

p. 106 ‘By paying ethnographic attention to the mechanics by which stories are put into
circulation, via press conferences, press releases, publicity tours, and quiet words with
journalists, as well as the backstage negotiations through which these stories are formulated
in the first place, one can defamiliarize what for many are apparently familiar yet
unexamined cultural practices’

p. 106 ‘In so doing, one emphasizes the mediating role that such social practices play in the
way media and “culture” are deployed in the production of contemporary politics’

p. 106 ‘…from what position do Tibetans manipulate and rescript Western media-political
practices to serve their own political ends? From what experiential or cultural reserves do
Tibetan political practices and historical consciousness in the diaspora emerge?’

5 Egyptian Melodrama – Technology of the Modern Subject?


p. 129 ‘…new focus on the self [in Egypt is] entangled with similar processes associated with
current religious practices’

p. 129 ‘…some of the individualizing encouraged by melodrama…may be reinforced by the

current practices of cultivating moral selves’

7 The National Picture

Annette Hamilton

p. 153 ‘the sense of distinctive locality expressed through many traditional narratives and
practices in many neighborhoods has been suppressed and does not find expression in the
array of nationally sanctioned representations’

p. 153 ‘an intensification in national self-representation at the same time that new social
practices, values and attitudes are being promoted in line with the goal of achieving

p. 155 ‘The administrative reforms during the reign of King Chulalongkorn (1868-1910)
were explicitly modelled on the colonial practices of the Dutch in the “East Indies”…’
p. 155 ‘…distinctive model of a homogeneous national culture developed and found
numerous forms of expression, [including] … increasingly rigid educational and bureaucratic

p. 162 ‘The demeanor of viewers changed during the Royal News; they stopped their other
activities and fell silent. This behaviour was consistent with other practices expected when
ordinary people are brought in conjunction with Royalty’

p. 162 ‘Hence the silence and absorption commonly displayed in both public and private
spaces can be seen as part of a constituent set of bodily practices intended to express respect
and reverence’

12. Putting American Public Television in Its Places

B. Dornfeld

p. 248 ‘an examination of this series [on childhood] reveals a great deal both about the
complex social practices of encoding these understandings in the contemporary form of
public television documentary and about the complexities of studying media production as a
form of public culture’

p. 248 ‘an ethnography of the series, like any work on media practices, would be enriched by
being a multisited study’

p. 248 ‘Media theory has grown up in three broad arenas linked to conventional stages of
media practices: theories of production, theories of textuality, and more recently, theories of

p. 249 ‘I want to build an argument here about how a more holistic theory of media practices
can grown out of the multisited research imaginary that Marcus describes and construct this
theoretical argument from the ethnographic material’

14. “And Yet My Heart Is Still Indian”

T. Ganti

p. 297 ‘Although audiences in India are characterized as having very specific tastes that
cannot be satisfied through Hollywood films, the same sensibilities that reject Hollywood and
thus protect Hindi filmmakers from competition can also constrain them in their own
filmmaking practices’
p. 297 ‘the highly reflexive and objectifying process of Indianization generates “culture
effects”…, signifying practices that produce the essence of “Indianness”’.

15. Arrival Scenes

J.D. Himpele

p. 303-4 Appadurai’s ‘production of locality’: how communities ‘also have defining locality
as a primary objective and produce themselves through various localizing practices’

p. 304 Himpele and Tribunal producers placed ‘on a continuum of practices of cultural
p. 313 ‘Given the similarities of our representational practices and the public mediation of my
fieldwork, there is no escaping that the moral and public terms of the Tribunal intervene in
my writing’

p. 313 ‘these localizing practices closely resemble the Tribunal’s televisual production of
multilayered and interwoven global and local images and spaces’

16. The Materiality of Cinema Theaters in Northern Nigeria

B. Larkin

p. 322 ‘how cinema theatres actually evolved and the social relations that surrounded them as
technological and leisure practices cannot be taken for granted’

p. 322 Rise of cinema in US ‘is famously rooted in the leisure practices of working-class

17. Mobile Machines and Fluid Audiences

D. Spitulnik

p. 339 ‘De-essentializing the audience does not mean… that analysis devolves into a running
inventory of multiple particulars – that is, a series of disparate and unconnected accounts of
reception practices’

p. 339 ‘…it is crucial not to discard questions about how larger cultural patterns, genre-based
constraints, economic determinants, technological properties, and shared forms of social
organization shape the horizons of meaning for people’s reception practices’

18. The Indian Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

C. Pinney

p. 359 Widespread Indian practice of what Pinney calls ‘corpothetics’ (sensory, corporeal
aesthetics) ‘is certainly on the face of it dissimilar to dominant-class Western practices that
privilege a disembodied, unidirectional, and disinterested vision’

19. Live or Dead?

M. Hobart

p. 380 We need to pay more attention to articulation, a notion which ‘brings together how
ideas are related with the social and political practices through which they are mediated on
specific occasions, placing attention firmly on the circumstances, purposes, and consequences
of mediation, and so on how television works’

p. 380 Balinese understand and comment on the world by ‘using distinctive intellectual
practices, which the participants themselves usually understand rather better than academics

20. A Room with a Voice

Rosalind C. Morris

p. 393 ‘massively popular and highly technologized Buddisht movement’ Dhammakaya’s

website doesn’t mention, among other things, ‘that its ordination practices violate the
standards set by the Supreme Patriarchy’
Book 2: Askew, K. and R.R. Wilk (eds.). 2002. The anthropology of media. London:

K. Askew

p. 2 ‘The strength of anthropology lies in its concern with people and lived practices’

p. 7 ‘assumptions about photographic and filmic practices’

p. 10 ‘Anthropologists categorically reject the common tendency to treat media as separate

from social life and in ethnographic case after case highlight the interconnections between
media practices and cultural frames of reference’

p. 11 ‘Part five …variety of perspectives on colonial, national, and global hegemonic projects
and how they impact media practices’

4. The Ambiguity of the Photograph

John Berger

p. 54 positivism and the camera and sociology as ‘practices’

6. The Gaze of Western Humanism

J. C. Faris

p. 77-78 ‘These considerations [about photography’s vision being historically specific] are
compounded when photographic practices and discourses intersect with other cultural forms
whose knowledges and practices are (or were) independent of photography and its history in
the West’, eg among the Navajo

p. 81 Cross-cultural photography ‘normally drags the framing practices of the dominant

photographer and the technology along’

p. 85 ‘Several Navajo healing practices… include masked individuals impersonating some of

the Holy People’

7. The Color of Sex

Lutz and Collins

p. 98 In National Geographic ‘the darker the skin color, the more likely to engage in ritual

9. Complicities of Style
D. MacDougall

p. 149 ‘…Frazer’s accounts of unfamiliar cultural practices’

Part III: Representing Selves

Askew and Wilk
p. 157. Michaels on the problematic of Aboriginal broadcasting content: “[it] expands in a
number of interesting directions that allow us to consider not just the media text, in its narrow
sense, but the production contexts and institutional practices that ultimately reach into the
much broader social and cultural facts of the ascription and inscription of Aboriginality in

11. Yoruba Photography

S.E. Sprague

p. 180 Photography can be used in Yorubaland in traditional rituals; ‘A few instances appear
to be simply individual beliefs, while others are widely accepted practices’

12. Relationships
Miller and Slater

p. 208 seemingly mundane new media, eg virtual postcards, ‘can both transform old gifting
practices and materially reconstitute the relationships in which they are embedded’

p. 208 Alumni lists of prestige schools tempting to see them as virtual social structure, yet
‘they evidently arose from and maintained an intricate relationship with a quite conventional
sense of social structure, and had an eminently practical function in reproducing that
structure, alongside other modes of formal and informal practices (form example careers,
travel, and business contacts)’

13. Mediating Culture

F. Ginsburg

p. 213 indigenous identity and politics mediated ‘through the signifying practices of film and
televisual forms; such practices cannot be considered apart from the political economies of
the dominant cultures in which they are embedded’

p. 217 Most active indigenous groups who take up media production start off with ‘initial
activities’ such as ‘documenting injustices and claiming reparations; making records of the
lives and knowledge of elders whether through dramatizing mythic stories, explaining
traditional food gathering and healing practices, or recreating historically traumatic events…’

14. Radio Texture

Jo Tacchi

p. 248 Waterman shows ‘it is the people in a heterogeneous setting, rather than the musical
style, or the culture, that accept or reject new ideas and practices. Equally, it is the listener
who, as the radio sound enters the “moral economy of the household”…., accepts or rejects
ideas and practices from the radio’.
◊ ideas and practices

18. National Texts and Gendered Lives

P. Mankekar

p. 316 ‘although television plays and unmistakably critical role in the constitution of
discursive practices, its cultural and political significance cannot be understood simply in
terms of a clear-cut division between the hegemonic text and the passive viewer’
p. 317 ‘I thus reject the notion of a unitary consciousness, arguing that each person can be a
contradictory subject, “traversed” by a variety of discursive practices’

20. The Global and the Local in International Communications


p. 340 term ‘cultural imperialism’ obscures ‘the many deep and diverse cultural effects of
imperialism itself, including the export of religion, educational systems and values, European
languages, and administrative practices…’

22. The Objects of Soap Opera


p. 382 Muslim Brotherhood paper editor ‘praised the new instalment for depicting everyday
religiosity, noting that he had earlier criticized the serial, like all television drama, for never
showing Islamic religious practices as part of daily life’

Book 3: Rothenbuhler, E. and M. Coman (eds). 2005. Media Anthropology. London:


1. The Promise of Media Anthropology

Coman and Rothenbuhler

p. 2 Spitulnik’s (1993) critique of so-called media ethnography: ‘actual immersion in the

daily practices and social worlds of the people studied is almost inexistent’

p. 2 ‘Media ethnography attempts to tease out layers of meaning through observations of and
engagement with the everyday situations in which media are consumed, the practices by
which media are interpreted, and the uses of which media are put’

p. 5 On Couldry’s (chapter 6) call for media ritual study to make links ‘between the power of
contemporary media institutions and modern forms of government and between an
understanding of ritual and the disciplinary practices of surveillance’

p. 5 ‘Couldry unveils the passing from an “interlocking mass of practices” to an ensemble of

media rituals’

p. 14 Several perspectives under media anthropology rubric, incl. how to ‘improve

journalistic practices’

2. Media Anthropology: An Introduction

F. Ginsburg

p. 20 ‘ethnographers and scholars in media studies are attending increasingly to the

circulation of media in settings not dependent on Western hegemonic practices’

p. 20 ‘Understanding the social relations of media production, circulation, and reception…

entails a grounded focus on the everyday practices and consciousness of social actors as
producers and consumers of different forms of media’

p. 20 Media ethnographers strive to ‘track, qualitatively [and through] “thick description”…

the practices, consciousness, and distinctions that emerge for people out of their quotidian
encounters with media; however these are also always situated within the context of a broader
social universe’

p. 21 ‘…scholars are developing research… [incl. looking at] practices on the ground (or
rooftops, as satellite dishes proliferate!)’

p. 21 ‘For many social theorists interested in media… the question is still open as to whether
even alternative media practices inevitably “eat their young”’

p. 21 ‘we are increasingly implicated in the representational practices of those we study’

3. The Profanity of the Media

M. Hobart

p. 26 ‘Arguably, anthropology and media studies are at their best when they are critical, in
the double sense not only of interrogating and seeking to understand the conditions of
possibility of their subjects’ thinking, but also their own criteria and practices of inquiry’

p. 26 ‘dialogic relationship between the ethnographer’s and the subjects’ practices of

knowing, explaining, justifying, and so on’

p. 30-31 Hall 1980 quote on the media structure as “sustained through the articulation of
connected practices…The “object” of these practices is meanings and messages in the form
of sign-vehicles of a specific kind organized…through the operation of codes”

p. 31 Hobart’s comment: ‘Noise… now ceases to be a technical problem and is attributable to

society, class, or capital working themselves out through media practices. Practice, it turns
out, has the task of specifying how structure instantiates itself in process’

p. 31 Hall never considers ‘the radical alternative sense of the pragmatic; namely, that
humans engage in all sorts of practices of asserting, denying, questioning, deceiving, and so
forth in which communication and understanding are at once partial and underdetermined
judgments on moments in the histories of such practices and contestable claims within such

p. 32 ‘Oddly, Hall insists on trying to analyze complex discursive practices using the notion
of signs. It is like trying to build a space rocket out of matchsticks’

p. 32 ‘…and we have not yet even broached the question of intertextuality, of the
preunderstandings and learned practices of reading and interpretation required to understand
a text in the first place’

p. 32 Hall puts the notion of ‘code’ to multiple uses, incl. mobilising structure and bringing it
‘to bear on media production and reception, as well as “concealing the practices of coding
that are present”

5. Cultural Anthropology and Mass Media

M. Coman

p. 49 Catherine Bell (1992) ‘considers ritualization as part of a more complex class of

behaviors, which she calls “practices”, following Bourdieu’
p. 50 So for Bell because “practice is situational and strategic, people engage in ritualization
as a practical way of dealing with some specific circumstances…”. Through ‘these behaviour
strategies, people generate and legitimize differences from other practices’

p. 50 Ritualization uses ‘several “basic operations”’ incl. ‘introduction of symbolic,

noninstrumental meanings for the respective practices’

p. 50 Still with Bell, ritualization ‘not only produces specific differences (such as those
between current practices and symbolic ones) but … can be employed in the struggle for
power, as it generates hierarchies and defines hegemonic order…’ [Coman then goes on to
use these ideas for his theory of journalistic uses of ritualization]

13. Performing Media: Toward an Ethnography of Intertextuality

M.A. Peterson

p. 132 Intertextuality raises 3 key questions, third one being: ‘How is intertextual play
organized into practices that seek to accomplish specific ends in particular social fields?’

p. 132 ‘Media ethnography attempts to tease out layers of meaning through observation of
and engagement with the everyday situations in which media are consumed, the practices by
which media are interpreted, and the uses to which media are put’
** Could use this at start of media ethnography section **

p. 133 ‘Metatextual discourse: Discourse that comments on media texts and on people’s
textual practices’

p. 134 ‘Learning practices of media interpretation… is an ongoing process that includes the
learning of interpretive schemes as well as the learning of interpretive practices’

p. 134 ‘By interpretive practices, I mean the ability to define contexts in which media is
encountered and to apply to them appropriate styles of perception, performance, cognition,
and affect. Such skills are not consciously strategic so much as habitual (Bourdieu, 1977),
built up out of years of socially organized media consumption activity’

p. 135 ‘Interpretive practices are one of the links between media consumption and everyday
life. They involve social performances and, like all social performances, they accomplish
multiple ends’

p. 135 ‘Interpretive practices take place in particular contexts. The physical setting, the social
definition of the scene, the nature of the media technologies deployed, the relationships
between those experiencing (or imagined as experiencing) the same text – these are just some
of the important considerations of the setting…’

p. 135 ‘In addition to the context of situation, people’s intertextual practices are conditioned
by the cultural context’

14. Audience Ethnographies

A.C. La Pastina

p. 139 ‘Ethnography has represented a shift from empirical practices of data collection,
pushing scholars to introduce nonobjective strategies to audience analysis and a greater level
of self-reflexivity among researchers’
p. 139 Murphy (1999) argued that cultural studies scholars ‘have theorized about the
importance of ethnography to an understanding of media and cultural practices at the same
time that they have reached an almost paralyzing position in which the political and
epistemological debates regarding the role of the researcher have limited rather than
promoted the promotion of ethnographic media studies’
p. 139-140: ‘…the different chapters [in Murphy and Krady (2003)] showed how media
(audience) ethnography could be performed as a long-term, in-depth project that allows for
solid knowledge about media practices’

p. 140 ‘Ethnographers immerse themselves in a culture to retell the lives of a particular

people, to narrate the rites and traditions of that people, and to understand and explain their
cultural practices’
[Postill: really? This language sounds very old-fashioned to me]

p. 140 Rosaldo (1993): Turner and Geertz neglected “informal cultural practices” in stressing
social control

p. 140 Abu-Lughod following Appadurai: concept of culture has masked “The fluidity of
group boundaries, languages and practices”

p. 141 Despite their limitations, ethnographies ‘represent a particular segment of a group’s

life [, thus providing] a deep understanding of the dynamics that form that group’s practices
and … their particular engagement with media and popular culture’

p. 141 Drotner (1994) shows ‘the strength of the ethnographic method for the study of media

p. 141 Ang (1991): Ethnographic research can account for “situational practices and
experiences of those who must make do with television provision served them by

p. 141 Although ‘[t]he practice of audience ethnography remains a challenge…, the

understanding of individual and communal media consumption practices might help to
apprehend the role of media texts’.

15. Picturing Practices

G. Murdock and S. Pink

p. 149 Visual and media anthropology research ‘seeks to understand both the multiple social
uses of contemporary media and communications and the multilayered, imaginative and
expressive environments generated by professional and vernacular practices’

p. 149 there are also ‘working assumptions and practices to be challenged and changed’
within visual and media anthropology

p. 156 Video tours of homes as research method ‘offers a useful way of examining how
media practices are structured by relations of power based in gender and generation’

p. 156 ‘collaboratively produced video recordings… [can be used] as a basis for further
explorations of their media maps and practices’
p. 157 People’s own produced images (e.g. home videos, videotaped letters, personal and
family webpages, etc) ‘offer a jumping-off point for interviews exploring the social dynamics
and aesthetic criteria that underpin their visual practices’

p. 158 Postill’s research in Malaysia: when both researchers and participants handle same
technologies we must ‘attend to the contexts and practices of image production and of
representation as well as the content of the images produced’

p. 159 ‘filmic representations of participants’ practices’

p. 159 ‘installation art and other established art and design practices’

23. The Anthropology of Religious Meaning Making in the Digital Age

S.M. Hoover and J.K. Park

p. 248 ‘…our project is intended to (a) bring a more sustained focus to questions of religion
and those ideas, symbols and practices that bear a family resemblance to religion’

p. 248 ‘… in the online world, a vibrant religious, spiritual, and transcendent set of discourses
and practices has emerged’

p. 248-249 ‘As media audience researchers, we are interested in what we can learn by
standing with the audience …. and understanding the symbols and practices that emerge as
meaningful … to them in that context’

p. 249 ‘…the package of sensibilities and practices generally referred to as “new age”

24. Weaving Trickster

A. Hammer

p. 262 Bachelard (1983): ‘not only theatrical aesthetic practices but also practices not
necessarily ascribed to the aesthetic frame can be viewed as “images of matter”’

p. 262 We could say that ‘MOOing is not ‘primarily a social but a reflective practice, much
closer to traditional aesthetic practices than to the traditionally social’

p. 263 ‘MOO practices may be perceived as reflective practices in the sense that their
creation is dependent upon material imagination based on practices of previous reference in
the sensual world’

Part IV: Theory into Practice

Coman and Rothenbuhler

p. 282 anthropology can provide us with an opportunity ‘to have a laudable effect on media

p. 282 Contributors to this section explore ‘possibilities for improving the world by
improving media practices via the judicious use of anthropological knowledge, perspective,
methods, and questions’
p. 282 Merry Bruns ‘is working as an anthropologist of professional practices’; Bird and
Copper look at anthropology for ways of ‘improving the practices of journalism’

26. Activist Media Anthropology

S.L. Allen

p. 291 We’re at a developmental point where ‘a critical mass of citizens may be able to obtain
and integrate the complexity necessary to apply nonviolent practices in relationships of all
kinds. It is now time to begin teaching these practices in earnest’

30. The Public Sphere

P. Dahlgren

p. 324 ‘The key dimensions [of civic culture] are knowledge and competence, democratic
values, trust, and affinity, as well as practices and, not least, identities’

p. 324 ‘Citizenship can also be seen in terms of social agency, as particular sets of activities
and practices – and congruent virtues – relevant to particular kinds of situations’.

Book 4: Hughes-Freeland, F. (ed.) 1998 Ritual, Performance, Media. London:


F. Hughes-Freeland

p. 4 ‘media practices have tended to be analysed with reference to consumption’; ‘Crain

(1992) was among the first to explore the effects of media practices on ritual events’: El
Rocio pilgrimage turned into a spectacle.
** unusual notion: ‘effects of media practices’ **

p. 5 ‘In this book, media practices are analysed in terms of agency, in some cases with
reference to performance’

p. 6 Book contributors ‘argue that performance in part constitutes ritual practices and

p. 7 ‘Contingency and convention in diverse forms are preconditions for creativity and
variable practices may emerge in ritual(ized) situations’

p. 7-8 For Gore (this volume) the constraint imposed by the need to establish the deities’
spiritual legitimacy “provides a framing in which individuals develop the conventions of the
various traditions of ideas and practices configured within it”

p. 16-17 Pilgrimage ‘provides general insights into the practices of modernity of which it
forms a part’
p. 17 Gore again: “ Local agents creatively construct and constitute these events, in relation
to the various traditions of ideas and practices articulated both within the urban shrine
configurations and outside them”.

p. 17 Gore’s chapter ‘concludes with a discussion of how recent innovations, such as disco
dancing and, more importantly, videoing and televising initiations, are being integrated into
the practices, and becoming part of the status game’
p. 21 Schieffelin (this volume) refines his case ‘for a phenomenological foundation to
anthropological theorizing about practices’. …’if social acts as practices in Bourdieu’s (1977)
sense are ‘structured or “regulated” improvisations’ or ‘the strategic articulation of practice’,
then performance ‘embodies the expressive dimension’ of that practice’.

p. 22-23 ‘Instead of a process which moves from [agency to structural constraint] in time and
space, creativity and constraint are simultaneous, co-present, and co-dependent in
performative practices embodied in different forms of participation’

p. 23 ‘there is a theoretical tendency towards discussing situated social practices from

perspectives which preclude objectivism’; yet you can still ‘invoke a metalanguage on a
contingent basis… in order to make a representational articulation of those situated social
practices possible’

2. Performing Pilgrimage
S. Coleman and J. Elsner

p. 62 ‘pilgrimages to Walsingham are partially supported and revived by the practices of a

modernity shading into postmodernity’

3. Ritual, performance and media in …Benin City, Nigeria

C. Gore

p. 68 ‘Local traditions of ritual ideas and practices articulate notions of kingship and form a
basis for local political action within Edo state’

p. 73 Bourdieu (1977: 1): Anthropologist is inclined towards “a hermeneutic representations

of practices, leading him to reduce all social relations to communicative relations and more
precisely, decoding operations”

p. 73 Missing from Turner and Van Gennep is how ‘local agents construct and constitute
these events, in relation to the various traditions of ideas and practices articulated both within
the urban shrine configurations and outside them”.

p. 73 sets of initiatory knowledge ‘are based on both commonalities of ideas and practices
pertaining to a deity, as well as…’

p. 73 different ways of conceptualising how a deity ordered in spirit world ‘and the various
practices that are particular to it’

p. 73 ‘has been instructed in the practices and knowledge of the deity’

p. 73 ‘understanding of the deity in the ideas and practices they have accumulated both prior
to and since initiation’

p. 73 ‘the personal relationship that the Ohen has with the deity empowers and legitimates all
practices of the Ohen, whether these conform to prior practices or introduce innovations’

p. 73 Ohens ‘claim a unique knowledge and practice that is different to other Ohens’ –
even when the practices appear quite similar. Indeed very similar practices can be used to
very different purposes by different Ohens’
p. 74 Some non-initiates ‘tacitly acquire much of the knowledge necessary for a particular set
of practices’

p. 75 To understand the urban shrines must consider ‘the agency of practitioners in the
acquisition of these skills and, moreover, the continuance, change and innovation in these
ideas and practices over time’

p. 75 Possession and dance ‘can be construed within the framing of the conventions of ideas
and practices at these urban contemporary shrines’

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