Participation in alternative realities: Ritual, consciousness, and ontological turn

In SGEM Conference Proceedings, Volume 5, Issue 6.1. SGEM. pp. 201-207 (2018)
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The ontological turn or ontologically-oriented approach accentuates the key importance of intercultural variability in ontologies. Different ontologies produce different ways of experiencing the world, and therefore, participation in alternative realities is very desirable in anthropological and ethnological investigation. Just the participation in alternative realities itself enables researchers to experience alterity and ontoconceptual differences. The present study aims to demonstrate the power of ritual in alteration, and to show how co-experiencing rituals serves to uncover ontological categories and relations. We argue that the experience of alterity in everyday activities is of a different quality than the experience of alterity when participating in rituals. Transcendent reality is accessible during rituals. It serves as source of potentialities. These potentialities are actualized in ritual and entangled with people's everyday existence. Furthermore, we argue that participating in ritual enables the researcher to step into the alterity of alterity, and to get nearer to the origins of ontologies. Ritual participation also invokes the extension of consciousness and provides a collectively shared cognition, opening up the ontological dimension and enabling access to existential experiences and concepts. In these settings, relations between people and the world can be recognized and investigated.

Author Profiles

Radek Trnka
Prague College Of Psychosocial Studies
Peter Tavel
Palacky University


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