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Title: Firewalking in Northern Greece : a cognitive approach to high-arousal rituals
Author: Xygalatas, Dimitris
ISNI:       0000 0000 4798 5207
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2008
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In the village of Agia Eleni in Greece, firewalking rituals are performed by a community called the Anastenaria. Its members are Orthodox Christians. In addition to the Church ritualS, however, they observe a separate annual ritual cycle, focused on the worship of saints Constantine and Helen. The most important event in this cycle,is the festival of the two saints, which lasts for three days and includes various processions around the village, an animal sacrifice, music, and ecstatic dancing. The most dramatic moment of the festival is the firewalking ritual itself, where the participants, carrying the icons of the saints, dance over the burning-red coals. This dissertation is a cognitive ethnography of the Anastenaria. Its goal is twofold. As an ethnographic project. it intends to record and present this tradition within its specific social. political, and economic context. At the same time. as a cognitive endeavour, it aims to identify the psychological factors that contribute to the persistence and the transmission of the Anastenaria and other emotionally arousing rituals. These two directions of my research, the cognitive and the ethnographic, will be interrelated and interacting: on the one hand, cognitive theories and methods will serve as a tool for the interpretation of my ethnography. On the other, the ethnographic data will help me test the claims and the validity of some of these theories.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available