matt tomlinson. Ritual Textuality: Pattern and Motion in Performance. Oxford Ritual Studies Series. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014. Pp. xi 192. Matt Tomlinson's Ritual Textuality: Patterns and Motion in Performance at first appears to be deceptively modest. It is a rather slim volume, drawn entirely from fieldwork in Fiji performed during the last half of the first decade of the twenty-first century. Content wise, it is comprised of what at a surface level seems to be a disjunctive series of ethnographic sketches of Fijian ritual life: a night at a Pentecostal crusade headed by a visiting Texas preacher, Fijian Methodism's Eucharist rite and chiefly kava drinking ceremonies, nineteenth-century missionary accounts of Fijian converts experience of ``happy deaths,'' the empty verbiage used by the leaders of one of Fiji's many military coups. One might think that the volume is of parochial concern, something only to be attended to by linguistic anthropologists, scholars of Oceania, or perhaps ethnographers of Christianity (which are all fields to which Tomlinson has contributed before1). The text does excel when taken at that level, of course; Tomlinson is a lively writer with a keen ethnographic eye, and each one of these scenes manages to convey
Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft – University of Pennsylvania Press
Published: Feb 5, 2015
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