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date: 17 January 2019

Abstract and Keywords

In the lexicon of ritual theory, the notion of ritualization bears a heavy load. The concept aims to account for both the origins and functions of ritual (at both the biological and cultural levels), as well as inform reflection on the meaning and merit of ritual and even ritual theory. Broadly, ritualization refers to modifications in behaviours (or actions) that, when combined, stereotyped, formalized, and repeated eventuate in recognizable rites (or rituals). Ritualization is to ritual as a tree is to a house or a gear to a bike. Since ritualization is especially concerned with processes, the concept is important to discussions of the dynamics of ritual—its origins, changes, adaptations, and developments. Different theorists, however, use the concept in quite specific, sometimes antithetical, ways.

Keywords: cognitive science, creativity, ethology, ritual theory, ritualization

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