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Title:Place and Thought in a Quechua Household Ritual
Author(s):Candler, Kay Louise
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Lehman, F.K.
Department / Program:Anthropology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Anthropology, Cultural
Abstract:This dissertation presents an interpretation of household rituals in a Quechua-speaking community in the southern highlands of Peru. The interpretation focusses on comparing a ritual pago a la tierra (payment to the earth) to a formal meal which entails social obligations. Several other associations, not consistent with the formal meal, are also presented in the context of formulating a mathematically-based view of the role of figurative meaning in ritual and symbol.
It is reasonable to expect that an approach to ritual and symbolism which attempts to interpret, that is, to construct meaning, be grounded in some theory of cognition. Like other forms of cultural knowledge, ritual and symbolism are learned and represented by individuals. Focussing on the individual mental act, a model of the construction and apprehension of figures is developed. Figures can include metaphors and other "figures of speech", as well as non-linguistic events such as sensory perceptions (evocative music or visual images) and ritual acts. A figure is the mental construction of an individual, based on experience, and changeable according to context and purpose.
The pago a la tierra ritual is presented as a conceptual category which is organized by several figures. The primary figure in this interpretation is from commensality to the pago: that is, the pago ritual for the Earth and spiritual Places is structurally similar to a formal meal served to an individual in the context of certain specific social relationships and entailing certain specific social obligations and responsibilities. Consideration of this figure provides insight into how the personified spiritual Earth and Places, and their relationships with humans, are conceptualized.
However, there are also aspects of the ritual where this figure is completely irrelevant. Several other figures are identified and discussed in order to illustrate how a variety of different figures which are not consistent with each other can be used to create meaning. It should not be expected that a single figure, even if it is shown to be appropriate, can account for all of the complex multiple meanings of ritual and symbolic activities.
Issue Date:1993
Description:253 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1993.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI9328988
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-17
Date Deposited:1993

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