Double feature: Shifting ontologies, et la transformation de l’être
The transformation of ‘being’ and its implications for rituals of concealment and revelation in Mesoamerica
dans le colloque
Montrer/Occulter. Les actions de modifications de la visibilité dans des contextes rituels. Approches comparatives
organisé par le groupe de recherche « Ontologie des images, figuration et relations rituelles » (Insituto de Investigación Historicas / UNAM – MQB)
et le Laboratoire d’Anthropologie Sociale (CNRS)
Shifting Ontologies in Melanesia and Mesoamerica.
Joint paper by C. Mondragon & Johannes Neurath
Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge
ABSTRACT for Shifting Ontologies:
This paper offers a comparative discussion about the ritual articulations between transformation and reciprocal exchange in two different culture regions – the Huichol of NW Mexico and the Torres Islands, Vanuatu. Our intention is to problematise the continuing notion that ritual practices are informed by stable, hence transcendental, ontological regimes. By contrast, we argue that ontologies do not stand in an isomorphic relationship to ‘culture’ and are best understood as the heterogeneous and dynamic products of creative action. We concentrate on two well-known ceremonial rituals from the so-called peripheries of Mesoamerica and Melanesia. In both cases we observe moments of uncertainty and shifts between contrasting, even irreconcilable, principles of existence and prescriptive value systems. Our field of comparison for both contexts is the tension between rituals acts of reciprocity (gifts) vs. transformation (‘free gifts’).