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Life at SchoolAn Ethnographic Study$
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Meenakshi Thapan

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195679649

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195679649.001.0001

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School Culture Rituals and Ceremonies

School Culture Rituals and Ceremonies

(p.54) Chapter Four School Culture Rituals and Ceremonies
Life at School

Meenakshi Thapan

Oxford University Press

School culture is based on values and norms which, in the Rishi Valley School, are derived from two kinds of practice that are constitutive of school life: organizational practice and discursive practice. Both organizational and discursive practices are common to most schools but in Rishi Valley, there is a third element/value which is enshrined in Jiddu Krishnamurti's philosophy. Value is realized through organizational features and practice as well as through rituals of challenge and effervescence. Hence, all three elements operate together resulting in different activities including the performance of certain kinds of rituals and ceremonies. This chapter examines the routinised rituals and ceremonies in Rishi Valley as part of the school's culture. One of these is the evening ritual of asthachal in which all students are required to be outside and watch the sun set over the hills. The other is the preparations of J Krishnamurthy's annual visit which bring ‘a mystical quality’ to the school. The chapter ends by discussing rituals as dramatizations of the routine.

Keywords:   school culture, rituals and ceremonies, Rishi Valley School, organisational practice, discursive practice, Jiddu Krishnamurti, asthachal, dramatizations of routine, ‘rituals of effervescence’, ‘third value’

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