ERIC Number: ED126370
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1975-Oct
Reference Count: 0
Dynamic Aspects of Ritual: A Resource in Decline?
Maxwell, Eleanor K.
It has sometimes been proposed that, as the physical prowess of aging people wanes, the nature of their public service may change: if they are no longer able to provide the community with mechanical energy, they nevertheless perform important functions in public situations, their contribution shifting in a sense from power to modeled guidance. In a systematic sample of 45 societies, we examine the participation of old men and women in ritual performances, as well as the reverberations of these performances. Aging members of these societies seem to provide other members of these communities with traditional models for living and working, expressed cyclically at celebrated stages of the life cycle and the work cycle to which all community members adhere. We briefly describe broad discernible trends, especially as they relate to the current fortunes of the aged. The results of the survey suggest that if a decline in ritual participation among old people exists, it may not be a permanent one, but may be linked to the condition of rapid social change, a characteristic of the secular quality of Western society. (Author)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. on Aging (DHEW/PHS), Bethesda, MD.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Gerontological Society, (28th, Louisville, Kentucky, October 26-30, 1975)