Ritual, Media, and Conflict

Ritual, Media and Conflict, by Ronald L. Grimes, Ute Hüsken, Udo Simon and Eric Venbrux (editors)

Rituals can provoke or escalate conflict, but they can also mediate it and although conflict is a normal aspect of human life, mass media technologies are changing the dynamics of conflict and shaping strategies for deploying rituals. This collection of essays emerged from a two-year project based on collaboration between the Faculty of Religious Studies at Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands and the Ritual Dynamics Collaborative Research Center at the University of Heidelberg in Germany. An interdisciplinary team of twenty-four scholars locates, describes, and explores cases in which media-driven rituals or ritually saturated media instigate, disseminate, or escalate conflict. Each multi-authored chapter is built around global and local examples of ritualized, mediatized conflict. The book’s central question is: “When ritual and media interact (either by the mediatizing of ritual or by the ritualizing of media), how do the patterns of conflict change?”


“An impressive collection of essays that enlivens and exhilarates like a gathering of scholars where debate and conversation, wonder and surprise trump certainty and resolution. This collaborative project situates case studies in a global context where ritual is as likely to be an act of transgression as a tool for reconciliation, where torture sessions and online memorials are observed and participated in by distant strangers as well as friends and neighbors.”
— Sarah M. Pike, author of Earthly Bodies, Magical Selves: Contemporary Pagans and the Search for Community

“A great deal of credit must be given, then, to the contributors to Ritual, Media, and Conflict, an interdisciplinary investigation of what may be three of most ubiquitous aspects of human life…Scholars of religion will be well served by this thought-provoking volume, no matter how much experience they have with these issues. The wide ranging and engaging case studies provide ample insights into what will likely be the next chapter in religious practice. Readers will come away with curiosity piqued, ready to reflect more
on the interplay of ritual, media, and conflict.”–Journal of the American Academy of Religion

Product Details

320 pages; 6-1/8 x 9-1/4; ISBN13: 978-0-19-973554-9ISBN10: 0-19-973554-9

About the Authors

Ronald L. Grimes held the Chair of Ritual Studies at Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands from 2005 to 2010, and he is co-editor of The Oxford Ritual Studies Series. He is the author of several books on ritual, most recently Rite Out of Place: Ritual, Media, and the Arts.

Ute Hüsken is Professor of Sanskrit at the University of Oslo and co-editor of The Oxford Ritual Studies Series. She is the author of Vishnu’s Children: Prenatal Lifecycle Rituals in South India.

Udo Simon is a researcher in the Cluster of Excellence, Asia and Europe in a Global Context, at Heidelberg University. He teaches in the Department of Languages and Cultures of the Near East, his chief fields of expertise being Arabic studies, Islam, the sociology of religion, ritual studies, and migration studies. His research focuses on the ritual practices of Muslims living in Europe.

Eric Venbrux is Professor of Anthropology at Radboud University Nijmegen. He is the author of A Death in the Tiwi Islands: Conflict, Ritual and Social Life in an Australian Aboriginal Community.