86 Reviews WERBNER, Richard P., Ritual Passage, Sacred Journey: The Form, Pro- cess and Organization of Religious Movement, Washington, Smithso- nian Institution Press, Manchester, Manchester University Press, 1989, 396pp., $32.50, 0 87474 976 X. The first half of this book deals with "ritual passage," under- stood as "a process of symbolic action focused upon the body," by means of which actors "find and resituate themselves in cosmological space" (p. 1). The second half, more directly cosmological, discusses journeys to and from a sacred center, that are "based upon sacred exchange across community and other boundaries" and serve to "renegotiate the distance to the invisible world and thus the moral condition, even the vitality, of a person or a community." Methodologically, Werbner brings together the formal tech- niques of structuralism, derived from Levi-Strauss and De Heusch, "the methods of situational and regional analysis developed by the Manchester school," and, because the symbolic content and the felt quality of experience are no less important than the form, "the semiotics of Pierce, the dialogics of Bakhtin, and the phenomenology of Eliade and others' (p. 2). In fact, Bakhtin and Pierce barely get a foothold, and J.W. Fernandez, with his idea of
Journal of Religion in Africa – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1991
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