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Ritual : How Seemingly Senseless Acts Make Life Worth Living, Paperback / softback Book

Ritual : How Seemingly Senseless Acts Make Life Worth Living Paperback / softback

Paperback / softback


A Radio 4 Book of the WeekWINNER OF THE CAROL R. EMBER BOOK PRIZE FOR SCIENTIFIC ANTHROPOLGYSHORTLISTED FOR THE 2023 BRITISH ACADEMY BOOK PRIZE From fire walking to funerals, the hidden science of the rituals that give life meaningRitual is perhaps the oldest, and certainly the most enigmatic, thread in human culture.

Apparently pointless ceremonies pervade every documented society: from handshakes to hexes, hazings to parades.

Before we learned to farm, we were gathering in giant stone temples. And yet, though rituals exist in every culture and can persist nearly unchanged for centuries, their logic has remained a mystery until now.

Today, a fearless new generation of anthropologists is venturing into this shadowy realm.

Armed with cutting-edge technology and drawing on discoveries from a huge range of disciplines, they emerge with a powerful new perspective on our place in the world.

Join the pathfinding scientist Dimitris Xygalatas on a tour of human culture at its strangest.

In coronations, in silent prayer, in fire-walks and in all the bewildering variety of humanity's ritual life, Xygalatas reveals the deep and subtle mechanisms that bind us together.


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