The Craft of Ritual Studies

The Craft of Ritual Studies, by Ronald L. Grimes

The Craft of Ritual Studies lays out a method for studying ritual, illustrates it with a case study, and eventuates in a theory of ritual. Part I provides orientation by laying out the basics of ritual studies field research. Part II is a case study of the Santa Fe Fiesta that utilizes original, online videos . Part III theorizes ritual by considering its definitions, cultural locations, elements, and dynamics. The three parts—method, case, and theory—play off each other in a way that is circular and interactive rather than linear or hierarchical. Although The Craft of Ritual Studies considers complex issues, its approach is conversational, integrating argument and theory with narration and dialogue. The book, along with its accompanying online videos and appendixes are designed for the classroom, but their argument is more akin to an extended position paper than an introductory textbook. Whereas a textbook typically provides a balanced survey of a field, summarizing key ideas and introducing major thinkers, Craft articulates a single, unified approach based on forty years of ritual studies research. The result is a distinctively hands-on book, treating the study of ritual as a craft rather than an art or science.

Appendixes as a pdf file

Video links as a pdf file

Table of contents



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  • Combines a theory, a method, and a case for studying ritual
  • Directly addresses the practical concerns of students of ritual
  • Supplemented with illustrative videos and appendices by the author, available online

About the Author

Ronald L. Grimes, Director of Ritual Studies International and Professor Emeritus of Religion and Culture, Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada.

Product Details

432 pages | 4 b & w | 235x156mm
978-0-19-530143-4 | Paperback