This introduction presents the problem: rituals, when they occur, frequently don’t go as imagined in historical texts or prescribed in ritual texts. Mistakes and other disruptions often occur. However, ritual theorizing has largely focused on ritual “as it should be” rather than as it is. As a result, ritual theorizing has, for the most part, ignored ritual mistakes and disruptions in its understanding of ritual. This book will begin to correct this flawed and incomplete approach to ritual. The introduction then explains the case study approach used throughout the book, and it notes key assumptions about ritual that will be challenged.
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