From family traditions like weddings and funerals, to state ceremonies and media events, rites and ceremonies mark socially important occasions, define beginnings and endings, and aid social transitions. Ritual and ceremonial as formal modes of conduct are equally ubiquitous, appearing in everything from modes of talk and rules of politeness to elaborate protocols from events of state. Ritual and rite, ceremonial and ceremony are symbolic social actions, thus modes of communication that implicate individuals in the social order, creating realities while expressing ideas and attitudes about them.
In Ritual Communication, author Eric W. Rothenbuhler combines bibliographic essay and theory construction to provide a unique perspective on ritual as a special and powerful form of communication. Part I is a critical review of definitions of ritual from anthropology, sociology, communication studies, and other literature, ending with a theoretical essay on the contributions of communication theory to understanding ritual. Part II is a critical review of the uses of the term ritual in communication studies literature, covering mediated rituals and ceremonies, ritualistic media uses and audience activities, political, rhetorical, and civic rituals, rituals of everyday interaction, rituals of organizational life, and finally a conception of communication as ritual.
A groundbreaking and fascinating examination, Ritual Communication will interest those in the fields of communication, speech communication, social psychology, anthropology, and sociology.