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Toward a theory of ritual economy

Dimensions of Ritual Economy

ISBN: 978-0-7623-1485-0, eISBN: 978-1-84950-546-8

Publication date: 6 May 2008


Ritual economy is a theoretical approach for understanding and explaining the ways in which worldview, economy, power, and human agency interlink in society and social change. Defined as the “process of provisioning and consuming that materializes and substantiates worldview for managing meaning and shaping interpretation,” this approach forefronts the study of human engagement with social, material, and cognitive realms of human experience. This chapter explores the theoretical roots of ritual economy and how they are expressed in this volume's contributions, which ground the discussion in actual case studies applied to both capitalistic and noncapitalistic settings across a number of different cultural contexts. By knitting together two realms of inquiry that often are sequestered into separate domains of knowledge, ritual economy exposes for analysis how the process of materializing worldview through ritual practice structures economic behavior without determining it.


McAnany, P.A. and Christian Wells, E. (2008), "Toward a theory of ritual economy", Christian Wells, E. and McAnany, P.A. (Ed.) Dimensions of Ritual Economy (Research in Economic Anthropology, Vol. 27), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 1-16.



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