[Ritual Agency and Moral Panics: Toward the Anthropology of Blasphemy and Sacrilege]
Type of publication: Editor's Introduction
blasphemy, sacrilege, desecration, ritual agency, moral panics, identity, social order
The introduction to the journal issue’s special theme on “The Icon and the Axe: Discourses on Blasphemy and Sacrilege in the Russian Culture” deals with some theoretical aspects of anthropological research focusing on blasphemy, sacrilege, and desecration. The history of religious, secular, and post-secular cultures from the Middle Ages to the present day involve different types of discourses on blasphemy and sacrilege. Local cults of sacred sites, miraculous images and objects employ the concept of desecration to articulate the rules and norms of communication between humans and supernatural agents. Organized forms of sacrilege, like Reformation iconoclasm or Soviet anti-religious campaigns, aim at transformation of habitual ritual activities along with formation of new types of human and non-human agency. Present day “blasphemy panics” produce new identities and ideas of the moral order. The Russian history and culture of the recent centuries provides examples of coexistence and evolution of all these types.
This research was supported by the following institutions and grants: Russian Science Foundation, https://doi.org/10.13039/501100006769 [grant no. 21-18-00508]
Panchenko, A.A. 2023. Ritual’naia agentnost’ i moral’nye paniki: k antropologii bogokhul’stva i sviatotatstva [Ritual Agency and Moral Panics: Toward the Anthropology of Blasphemy and Sacrilege]. Etnograficheskoe obozrenie 2: 5–20. https://doi.org/10.31857/S086954152302001X EDN: QJMKCJ
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