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Rituals, as universal modes of human action, are always evaluated and criticized. Humans seem to need rituals, but they also reject them. Criticism is an inevitable part of ritual traditions, and is often even part of a ritual itself. Denial and critique are forms of relation, albeit defined in negative terms: even new or renewed traditions always strongly relate to the old and rejected. A ritual then becomes an ideal ground to negotiate and fight over ideologies, modernity and backwardness, tradition and innovation, and diverging ideologies.
This volume deals with different forms of denial and the critique of rituals, and uses the denial of rituals to learn more about the role of rituals in their performers’ lives, and about the ambivalences this denial uncovers. The ambivalence, complexity, and processuality of denial are consequences of the fact that there is usually not only one, but a chain of denials, one responding to the other.