Objects as Subjects: Agency and Performativity in Rituals

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title = "Objects as Subjects: Agency and Performativity in Rituals",
abstract = "In ritual theory, ritual objects have mostly been discussed in terms of symbols and interpretations. But objects that are employed in rituals are not merely passive carriers of attached cultural meanings. In this article I discuss how objects not only become animated but also animate the ritual field. As ritual agents they have important performative functions in the field of transformations. The smoke of burning sage in a ritual setting is not ordinary but sacred smoke, and it does not only symbolize a purification process for the participants, but actually cleans them from bad spirits. It is thus more useful to discuss the phenomenology of animism as relational epistemology rather than an epistemological fallacy. ",
keywords = "Ritual objects, animism, agency, performativity, relaional epistemology",
author = "Anne-Christine Hornborg",
year = "2016",
language = "English",
isbn = "9781781794753",
series = "The Study of Religion in a Global Context",
publisher = "Equinox Publishing",
pages = "27--45",
editor = "Ingman, {Peik } and Hovi, {Tuija } and Utriainen, {Terhi } and Broo, {M{\aa}ns }",
booktitle = "The Relational Dynamics of Enchantment and Sacralization",
address = "United Kingdom",