This introductory chapter situates the analysis within existing anthropological studies of ritual, and argues that ritual is not solely an aspect of religious life. Rather, it presents ritual as a crucial mode for framing human activity. It contrasts this with another mode of living and acting in the world, which the authors of this book call sincerity. It suggests that contemporary thought, which rests on the idea of autonomous individuals interacting on the basis of their sincerity, has left little ideological room for ritual and its creation of bounded groups. Yet ritual has not disappeared and in fact appears to be increasing. This sets the stage for the book's general reconsideration of how ritual works.
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