An exploration of theoretical space within ritual : with specific reference to the funerals of the Church of England and their importance in the grief and bereavement process
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This paper explores the importance of ritual space in the process of grief and bereavement. Ritual has so far been considered either in terms of Turner’s processual symbolic analysis; or Shorter’s / Eliade’s circular understanding. In light of Grimes (2000) recent criticisms that Turner’s linear paradigm can only be considered as applicable to non-western ritual activity, I will examine the potential in combining both circular and linear interpretations to suggest a new model that can be applied to contemporary western ritual life. 1 transpose Shorter’s psychological framework onto Turners anthropological focus. The resultant model focuses upon the theoretical space created. Focusing upon the recent liturgical developments within the funeral provisions of the Church of England I will use the model to explore the use of the funeral rite to those suffering loss. I will argue that the space within the ritual process allows one to connect with an archetypal sense of loss and grief; However, the processual nature of our ritual activity ensures we do not remain frozen in that place.
Thesis, MPhil Master of Philosophy
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