The Ethos of Rastafari
Structure, Ideology, and Ritual
The continued existence of social movements usually depends on the development of hierarchical institutional structures. Rastafari, however, is characterized by an ethos rather than institutional structures. This ethos is characterized by three essential elements: (1) a reticulated social structure or web‐like network of individuals, “houses,” and “mansions” (various groupings of Rastas); (2) a worldview encoded in symbols and symbolic references such as dreadlocks, Ethiopian colors, and Babylon; and (3) ritual activities – primarily ganja (marijuana) smoking and “reasoning” – collectively known as “grounding.”
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