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Title: Ritual devotion among Shi'i in Bahrain.
Author: Schumacher, Ilsa Amelia.
Awarding Body: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Current Institution: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Date of Award: 1987
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The thesis investigates Shi'ite ritual in Bahrain with particular attention to women's involvement. The analysis relies heavily on the interpretation of the symbolic structure of these rituals and the roles and meanings that are attached to similar or identical symbols in non-ritual contexts. It is this comparison, combined with an emphasis on indigenous points of view, which forms the basis of the thesis' argument, and the interpretations found therein. The thesis suggests that ritual is central to the lives of Bahraini Shi'i: it organizes particular social networks, contributes to local definitions of gender and age distinctions and continually presents a model which accounts for the origins of the Shi'ite universe. Each of these points is examined in detail. With respect to social reactions the thesis demonstrates the close interdependence between women's positions within the neighbourhood and their simultaneous involvement in demanding ritual responsibilities. It is the close association found between physical and spiritual maturity which makes the factors of gender and age critical to defining ritual involvement. Finally the idea that Shi'ite ritual contains a model of their origins leads to a discussion of the Imam Husain, the Prophet Mohammed's grandson, and his martyrdom. This discussion provides the basis for suggesting that the key to Shi'ite life and regeneration rests on the concepts of atonement and sacrifice. The thesis concludes by reemphasizing the value of description in anthroplogy, the use of indigenous models as a starting •point in analysis and the mixed advantages of symbolic interpretation. The concluding discussion also outlines a case for looking at the emotional character of ritual in a more direct and systematic fashion than that previously found in anthropological analysis.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Anthropology Anthropology Folklore