CESNUR - center for studies on new religions


June 17-20, 2004 - Baylor University, Waco, Texas

Religious and Political Ritualism in Democratic and Non-Democratic Systems

by Maria Marczewska-Rytko
A paper presented at CESNUR 2004 international conference, Baylor University, Waco (Texas), June 18-20, 2004 – Preliminary version – do not reproduce or quote without the consent of the author

Preliminary Deliberations

            The notion of ritual can be understood in a number of ways. Firstly, it is a set of symbolic activities constituting the formal aspect of an elevated act, celebration, observance or ceremony. In a narrowed understanding, it stands for a form of magical procedures and religious practices.[1] Secondly, in the reference to the Catholic Church, the notion of ritual stands for the liturgical book covering every ceremony except the Mass itself. [2]

            Robert K. Merton understands ritual as one of the ways of an individual's adapting to the demands of a community in a cultural and social structure.[3] In his opinion the ritualistic adaptation is in fact easy to define. Its nature lies in rejection of cultural goals tied to achieving a spectacular financial success and social status or, alternatively, in lowering their standards to a level on which the ambitions of an individual can be satisfied. Ritualism is not seen here as a social problem. It is largely due to the fact, that in its nature it is a matter of a personal choice. In any way, the philosophy characteristic of ritualism can be summarised by a handful of phrases: "Better stay low", "Act safely". Merton uses the example of the American society, where ritualism is characteristic mainly of the lower middle-class. It is condoned by the fact, that it is the social group in which the strongest pressure is put by parents on their children to abide to the moral demands of the society. It is also a group where prospects of social advancement are poorer than in the upper middle-class. In this form, ritualism is often based on meticulous adhering to institutional rules. The discussed situation often leads to an individual becoming a master-bureaucrat. After prolonged periods of excessive adaptation, it also commonly causes intense rebellious outbreaks.

            In reference to an individual and a community Stanisław Filipowicz uses symbolic terms of mask and face. He poses a question of a situation most desirable for a political community: "When we initiate ceremonies of the face, or [...] when a mask becomes an indispensable accessory?".[4] It allows the author to isolate two disciplinary factors of public activities. The first of them concentrating on a search for one's own face, while the other on the forms of imposing a certain mask.

            Ritual is connected to other forms of behaviour and activity.[5] For instance, one can point to a ceremony, covering a set of solemn, formalized activities, which aims at preserving and forwarding values recognised by a given group or society. A ceremony influences mutual solidarity of the partaking people.[6] A ritual refers to myths and symbols. Anna Zeidler defines myth as covering any, that is both sacral and secular, project sanctioning the whole of our "life" experience (regulated directly by colloquial social experiences).[7] Leszek Kołakowski in turn, states that "a myth is a discovery of a situation (perfectly incipient), which becomes important for current lives not by providing guidelines for interacting with an environment, but by relating everyday endeavours to a non-relative reality, thus providing them with a meaning".[8] Numerous researchers, however, limit the notion of myth to the area of sacral world-view messages, while treating the secular-discursive articulations of "ultimate" values as "myth-like" phenomena at best.[9] While referring to the ideas of George Sorel, Paweł Śpiewak states, that a myth is a representation of a goal treated as a figment of imagination, which can influence the psyche of a sprawled nation in a form that stimulates political prejudice and passions.[10] The notions of myth and ritual are closely connected. As stated by father Henryk Zimoń: "A ritual- the sacred action- creates unity with a myth, that is the spoken sacred word. The myth clarifies and validates the ritual by referring to a source event, which occurred in pre-time. The ritual on the other hand, illustrates and strengthens the appeal of the myth."[11]

Sacral and Secular Ritualism

            It can be claimed, that rituals are most strongly connected to religion. It should also be noted, that the notions of ceremony and ritual are often treated as synonymous.[12] W.L. Warner stresses the importance of the Memorial Day ceremony in the USA as representing the triumph over death and symbolising unity and equality of the living, and their attachment to the dead and God.[13] A number of researchers distinguish ritual from ceremony and etiquette, on the basis of being accompanied by, respectively, sacral and secular symbols.[14] In reference to this scope of deliberations, it is worth to note the ideas of Emil Durkheim.[15] In his opinion, rituals belong to the domain of the sacred and cover behaviour guidelines directing a man in his experience of the divine. The importance of the above statements is noted by Jack Goody, among others.[16] Similar opinions are expressed by Robertson Smith, who treats rituals as crucial elements of religion.[17]

            Bronisław Malinowski points to the social function of rituals.[18] He distinguishes a number of rituals: religious-magical, elementary, and developed emotional rituals. Magical rituals aim at harming an individual, who is beyond physical retribution.[19] This refers to the group of rituals connected to black magic and usually covers activities such as wagging one's fist at someone, or more generally speaking, body language expressing a desire to destroy. In Malinowski's opinion, we are dealing here with a reflection, that harming and individual involves performing a spontaneous anger response. Thus, reflection is the first step of performing the responses and of their transformation into customary activities. Therefore, elementary ritual is a spontaneous reaction, while developed ritual is a kind of customary response. Similar thoughts have been expressed by Arnold van Gennep, who created a model of the rite of passage. Rite of passage or ritual of passage is a public ceremony symbolizing and emphasizing the phenomenon of changing. Usually it is connected to breakthrough moments in the life of an individual.[20] Thomas Rhys Williams distinguished: individual, ecclesiastic, and shamanist rituals, as well as rituals of intensification, reversal, and passage.[21]

            As implied by father H. Zimoń, two theories of ritual can be identified. According to the first of them, a ritual is a clearly defined and autonomous set of activities. The second theory, on the other hand, treats ritual as an aspect of every human activity. Personally, I support the opinion of those researchers, who advocate a broader understanding of ritual.[22] Such approach seems justified mainly by the fact that in modern societies, many non-religious symbolic activities play the roles, which in primitive societies used to be reserved for religious or magical rituals. In this context it is worth to mention political ceremonies or the secular rites of passage.

Political Ritualism

            Some cultural anthropologists accept the notion, according to which the term ritual refers to the religious and metaphysical sphere, while the term ceremony to the secular sphere. It can be proven, however, that ritualism is traceable in the area of political activities. In the below paper, a thesis will be proposed, that the notion of ritual is not limited to the sphere of religion. It is assumed by the author of this text, that the term can be successfully applied to secular activities as well. It is also believed that a category of political ritualism can be distinguished.

            The notion of political ritualism refers to those political activities, which aim at mythicization of political power, and increase of its authority beyond rational boundries.[23] It involves referring to the emotional aspect of a community. In comparison to other forms of human activity, ritual is characterised by a greater symbolic and dramatic tension in expressing ideas and feelings.[24] The term also refers to activities, which constitute a customary part of various celebrations and ceremonies. Thus ritual is order, a negation of chaos. In his book on rituals, David I. Kertzer openly concludes, that ritual in fact fashions political reality.[25] The contradiction of ritual would be a situation of reluctance to gather experience and absolute randomness.[26] As claimed by Gustaw Le Bon: "[...] theatrics has a powerful influence upon a crowd, as it presents images in the clearest form. 'Panem et circenses' – bread and games – is what the Roman mob demanded, and it seems that the ideal has not changed much over time. Nothing has more influence on a crowd's imagination than theatrical performances".[27]

            In the opinion of Elżbieta Wolicka, secular ritual imitates its religious counterpart.[28] It can be observed when, in certain circumstances, we behave according to a common standard, when we feel obliged to follow the canon. She claims that conventionality and strictness of formal rules in secular ritual were most influential in societies of traditionally established structures and hierarchy.[29] In the light of the above, the close connection between ritualism and conservative tendencies should be noted.

            Ritual gesticulation and mind-set are to coordinate the uncontrolled and instinctive reactions. Their job is to contain human actions and existence in an element which dominates and orders them.[30] Therefore, it should be noted, that any ritual is bound to an objective pattern consisting of a set of guidelines for behaviour. In this way it protects a defined canon of values (notably, strongly varied) from the risk of devaluation. In that case, therefore, it should be treated as a means of an individual's partaking in the life of a society, and as a factor ensuring order on the level of basic structures integrating members of a given society.[31] Thus participation in a ritual teaches a person about his role in an ordered system, greater than his own fate. To quote Paweł Lisicki: "A ritual introduces an individual into a church of gestures and movements, one which demands respect, tribute, and reverence. It teaches of the existence of a ruler and a judge at the top of the hierarchy. A ruler, who holds the right to judge us according to his own measures, which may be incompatible with the measures of a human being. In that lies the value of protecting the ritualistic behaviour."[32]

            The effects of political ritualism are highly difficult to assess. However, it can be stated, that in a social sense they may both unify and divide the members of a community. In authoritarian countries, ceremonies and rituals of various kinds are a way to disregard the dangers of delegalization, and a means of controlling the society. Rituals are not conductive to social activeness and criticism, they justify hierarchy and the moral scope of political activities through a system of distinctions. Political ritualism is a part of the process of shaping political authority. Therefore, it refers to collective imagination and emotions. Due to this, symbols play a crucial role in the above process. Rituals are an important part of the cultural heritage.

            Rituals characteristic of the world of politics have been present throughout the history of mankind. Even the leaders of the French revolution referred to ritualism, creating a cult of the mind, a cult of the highest being, a cult of a decade. In fact one could call it a revolutionary religion, which created its own symbols and emblems (three colour bowknots, banners, commandments in the form of The Declaration of Rights, and ritualistic anthems).[33] Zygmunt Bauman is right in saying that any attempt to create a community builds upon factors such as: "common blood", hereditary character, bond with the land, common history, memory of historical victories and failures that have influenced the emergence of a nation.[34] Numerous political and religious movements have proclaimed creating a community of beliefs or faith by converting people to ideas previously unknown to them. Such a community needs to be supported by rituals, a series of regular events (patriotic meetings, party conventions, church Masses), in which members participate as actors.[35] Such events deepen the feelings of sharing membership and fate. Extremist political groups treat their members as fighters. Therefore, they demand complete loyalty and total submission. Totalitarian parties demand obedience not only from their members, but also from the rest of the society. In such a process popularity achieved by charismatic leaders is an element of great importance.

            At this point, let us examine two examples of political ritualism characteristic of Nazism and fascism, for as rightfully noted by Paweł Hertz: "Hitlerizm and Bolshevism, which are two examples of modern barbarism, had their own rituals, complicated hierarchy and specific liturgy. Therefore barbarism is not in opposition to ritualism ...".[36] Nazism unconditionally subjugated an individual to the national family, seen as racial and spiritual community proclaiming limitless devotion to the leader.[37] Adolf Hitler's political appearances turned into quasi-religious ceremonies. It is not surprising, therefore, that soon "meeting rooms were his theatre" and "crowds gathered to hear the good news of Germany's resurrection".[38] As from 1926 the German society was taking part in the performances, into which the party congresses had turned.[39] The main parts were played by men wearing brown shirts, who directly participated in the emotional rituals and ceremonies. Justification for the decision-making assembly was found in German identity and tradition. In those circumstances "military parades, sees of flags and swastikas, songs, litanies of political slogans, and the climax of mass exaltation marked by the appearance of the Fuhrer, referred strongly and directly to imagination and provided a feeling of participation in the ceremony."[40]

            A special ritual was staged to commemorate the first session of the new parliament in the historical garrison church in Potsdam. During that event Hitler took an oath to Hindenburg and to the German nation, that he would stay loyal to the values of the past.[41] A similar setting was provided for party conventions in the 1930s. They were inspired by catholic ceremonies and the forms of leftist expressionists.[42] The emotional impact on the mass psyche was strengthened by films and publications. A notable example of such films was the documentary by Leni Riefenstahl "Triumph of the Will" filmed during an NSDAP congress in Nuremberg, in which we can see the "new Wotan stepping down from his chariot to reignite the hearts of his followers. However, the images soon become more Christian in nature. While the plane nose-dives over the medieval city, its tail transforms into a cross "blessing" the disciplined columns of people marching below. As Hitler gets off the plane, a light source behind him creates an effect of a halo over his head. While he travels from the airport to his hotel, innumerable masses gather in the streets to pay homage to the New Christ, sent from above to save Germany".[43] One of the most discussed printed publications was The Myth of the Twentieth Century by Alfred Rosenberg.

            A similar tendency to subjugate an individual to the community can be observed in reference to Italy. A fascist was seen there as someone turning away from comforts of life, devoting his days to serving the nation, and seeing his life as a duty.[44] In order to create a bond with the Roman tradition of greatness, Mussolini called his soldiers legionnaires, and chose the Roman military salute: raised arm, as the official greeting. Black shirts became a compulsory garment.

            Similarly to Nazism, the Italian fascism created complex ceremonies utilizing a secular religion based on battle cries. They played a dual part: "reflected the role of symbols and emotions in politics, [...] prevented military groups from fighting each other and spending to much time looting villages and stealing from the peasants".[45] The march for Rome itself was staged as a theatrical performance. After taking over the position of prime minister, Mussolini allowed a triumphant parade of his militia through the capital city. Roger Eatwell was right in pointing out that "fascist propaganda was much more than just charismatic populism, which strives for mass support [...]The connection between propaganda and the more fundamental elements of ideology can be traced in the example of the reverence, with which fascism treated the ancient Rome. From the very beginning fascists were led by the Duce (from Latin dux), who was symbolized by a bundle of lictorian switches with an axe in the middle (fasces). After 1922 the regime acquired numerous new hints of antiquity, e.g. the Day of Rome's Birth, which replaced the Labour Day; or the fascist militia, which was populated by consuls, centurions, and legionaries".[46] It can be claimed, that the cult constituted a part of the political ritual aimed at mobilising its own ranks and attracting various new supporters. In fact, however, its main goal was to justify the new order.

            The communist ideology also introduced a personality cult, and in the process of creating a ritual introduced a pattern of in-party behaviour. Membership in the party involved complete acknowledgement of the proclaimed values, which in themselves created a specific set of commandments. Renouncing allegiance was immediately followed by severe sanctions, including execution.[47] In the Soviet Union or China the cult of the leader reached incredible levels. Again, political ritualism involved theatrics of gestures and ceremonies. As noted by Krzysztof Łoziński on the communist China: "The country fell into the madness of gatherings devoted to class struggle. 1.5 million people paid for the lunacy with their lives. The schizophrenic idea to make the killing a public act, produced exceptional effects. The authorities could not have been accused of terrorizing the nation, since it was the entire nation that participated in the killing, while refusal to participate led one to becoming the terror's victim oneself".[48] In socialist countries the greatest momentum accompanied the widely broadcasted celebrations of May Day, gatherings referred to as parades, marches in front of podiums occupied by various party dignitaries. The kisses shared by leaders of allied nations were also ritualistic in nature, symbolising agreement and commonwealth. While analysing the situation in Prague after the 1968 events, Vaclav Havel wrote, that "nothing happens, history has been replaced by the ritual of various celebrations and national holidays, the authorities are suspicious of anyone stepping out of line, even talent is dangerous, it seems that also those who truly believe in the national ideology are deemed dangerous - the authorities can only bear those who do nothing but pretend, and have no beliefs of their own”.[49] The particular socialist communities created their own patterns of ritualism.

            A multitude of forms, which political ritualism can take, can also be found in the trends of countercultural contestation in industrial societies. Extremist concepts of revolt and rebellion have been defined by, among others, Guy Debord, who criticised a society employing theatrical performances in their politics.[51] The activities he postulated involve two elements: politics and art. Among the rituals of the countercultural era, there are: peace demonstrations, travelling communities as e.g. a form of resisting conscription, creating cultures of jeans or motorcycle.[52]

            An important part in the process was played by alternative theatres. In Poland, a famous example was the Grotowski theatre, which advocated the so called active culture, combining avant-garde with turning back to the roots. It corresponds with Jerzy Grotowski's definition of belief, when he writes: "Some words have died, despite the fact that we are still using them. There are some that have died, not because they had to be replaced, but because what they used to stand for has already died as well [...] Among those words there are such as show, performance, theatre, audience [...] At first to have a place and own people, later also unknown own people [...] But who are the 'own people'? They are those who breathe the same air, and – one could say – share our senses".[53] Equally pertinent is Grotowski's another diagnosis. According to him: "In the fear which follows lack of reason, we give up life and begin to die diligently. A pattern takes the place of our lives, and our resigned senses get accustomed to the mediocre. Every once in a while we rebel, but only to keep the appearances, we organize a sizeable commotion [...]".[54]

            The Orange Alternative initiatives also had the character of rituals. Their various street activities were aimed at ridiculing common ideological stereotypes.[55] The situation was rightfully commented on by Ryszard Legutko, who stated, that rituals disappear only to be replaced by other rituals.[56] In his opinion we are dealing with the following situation: when great social movements arise in the name of new existential forms (like the countercultural movement), rituals are created and enforced with great discipline. Legutko underlines the role of technology and growing socio-technical knowledge in creating rituals to serve ideologies. Furthermore, he claims that "The great movements of our times - from fascism, national socialism, and communism to counterculture – created, through the hands and minds of their leaders and ideologists, specific ritualistic patterns of behaviour, which had the purpose of spiritually mobilising their members in the name of the Cause."[57]

            With the development of democratic societies the role of rituals has by no means deteriorated. One could point to a certain clash, caused by cults of certain values and at the same time imperfections in the sphere of the practical. In the reality of systematic transformations we are dealing with gatherings, marches, parades, and demonstrations. To a large extent, they are connected to populist movements. A perfect illustration of the above, in Polish reality, was the activity of "Solidarity" (independent trade union federation) set up in 1980. The origins of its foundation lie in an ideological crisis, dissatisfaction with the reality of that time. A clear distinction emerged between: us – "Solidarity" and them – the communist authorities. The dichotomy is still clearly visible in comments made by politicians originating from that social movement. For a part of the political stage in Poland the main concern is still the "good" – post Solidarity, and "bad" – post communist provenance.

            Although originating from the working class, "Solidarity" managed to involve all social classes (during the crest period it amounted to ten million members). The movement was seen as a synonym of the righteous and exclusively true values vindicated by the authority of the masses. It was commonplace to refer to brotherhood and social solidarity in order to oppose the authorities, which were excluded from the society and treated as an embodiment of evil. The distrust towards the elite, mainly the government, was expressed in the form of accusations of antinational activities. The polemics was mainly based on emotions. Slogans such as freedom, independence, and justice were bandied about. Nationalistic symbols were greatly overused: red and white banners marked strikes, red and white armbands the strikers, the word Solidarity was always represented on red and white flags or backgrounds, the core of the strikers' songbook was constituted by the Polish national anthem, "Rota", "Boże Coś Polskę..." and other patriotic songs. The period of the Second Republic (period after World War I) was treated as the golden era, and Józef Piłsudski's authoritarian way of governing the nation seen as an example to follow. The proceedings and agreements of the Round Table can be interpreted in the light of ritualism and symbolism as well.[59] Nowadays, many political groups in Poland can also be seen as particularly ritualistic. For instance, "Selfdefence” led by Andrzej Lepper is famous for organising "star marches" for Warsaw and demonstrations in front of the Polish houses of parliament with battle ready scythes (a historical symbol of Poland's struggle for independence in the 18th and 19th centuries).

Electoral Ritualism

            Instances of non-ritualistic character can also be interpreted in the light of political ritualism. Political elections may be characterised in this way.[60] The problem will be discussed in reference to Jacek Raciborki's analyses.[61] In his deliberations, he uses the adjective 'ritual' in respect to past parliament elections since 1952, when no competition between political parties was allowed, and rivalry between particular candidates became a formality. As a matter of fact, the purpose of the elections was solely to demonstrate the nation's support for the authorities.[62] One can speak of ritual elections. The author refers to a comment by Jerzy Wiatr, who concluded: "The ritualistic elections were of no real importance, they neither served as a true plebiscite, nor as an act of electing representatives. The ritual most probably provided a psychological illusion of legitimacy on the one hand, and on the other strengthened the notion that <everyone> remained indifferent about, if not supportive of, the existing system".[63]

            In Raciborski's opinion the parliamentary elections of 1957 were in fact a plebiscite. Subsequent elections in the 1960s and 1970s were only rituals. In turn, the elections of 1988 may again be called a plebiscite, as the nation was in fact allowed to speak for or against the government. And all that taking place in the reality where an active opposition operated. The ritualistic character of an election is also defined by the attitudes of the voters. Raciborski observes: "For a large part of the electorate, participation in the election was, as before, a matter of a specific ritual; an activity resulting from inner conviction that this is simply the right way to behave, that it has always happened this way, that all of that does not really matter – a largely unreflective attitude, which did not leave any association, in the consciousness of the participants, between the physical act of voting and expressing support for the authorities. Past habits became apparent in the number of unmarked votes, although this time no propaganda appealed for this sort of behaviour".[64]

            Having analysed the manner of operation of modern liberal democracies, an Italian researcher Danilo Zolo concludes, that the political power of democratic princes is based on rituals.[65] The fact is – in his opinion – that citizens are subject to an illusion, which lets them think that through the act of elections they participate in decision-making processes. The reality, however, is that the role of an elector is limited to a sort of an alibi for those who are actually in control. Zolo refers to the electoral campaigns of Ronald Regan claiming, that nobody ever ask about manifestos or political ideas any more. The important element nowadays is the "biographical data" and emotional values. It noteworthy, that the very same arguments are most commonly used by the critics of modern democratic systems of electing representatives.


            On the basis of the above deliberations it is possible to formulate a number of conclusions. Firstly, rituals are an inseparable element of human existence. They are most commonly connected to the sphere of religious experiences. However, as demonstrated above, they also function in other areas of our lives. In historical terms rituals can be traced in the earliest stages of communities' formation. The social and political activities in those times involved means such as: magic, prayer, sacrifice, omen, or mysticism. They emerged whenever and emotional clash between hope and fear took place, and rational means turned out to be insufficient.

            Secondly, rituals seen as a sort of social actions belong to the category of theatrics, are taken for socially significant reasons by a given social group, or in their name. Ritual plays a crucial part in confirming and symbolically performing the social order. It allows a glimpse at the ultimate order, which is to be reflected by the reality. It belongs to the group of symbolic activities, performing communicative functions while being constant and repetitive. There is no room for spontaneity or any departure from the acknowledged rules and canons. On the contrary, rituals base on precisely defined rules and principles, which need to be followed unconditionally. Therefore, an important role in the ritualistic processes is played by verbal symbols, gesticulation, sounds, images, or human bodies.

            Thirdly, in the case of secular rituals, the utilization of non-religious, metaphysical ideas can be noticed. The noteworthy ideas include patriotism, nationalism, belief in the historic mission of a nation or social class, and other sorts of ideas derived from philosophical reflections upon history. The world of politics exploits rituals mostly when rational approach proves insufficient or ineffective. In the scope of political life, rituals commonly cover means such as: body-language, vocabulary, prompts, colours, uniforms, and sounds, by means of which individuals try to secure their influence upon attitudes, behaviour and actions of people. Political rituals take place in front of an audience. They allow understanding of what is of real value in a given society, and what represents its past and future as well as the mutual relation between the two. It should also be observed, that political ceremonies and rituals are characterised by transferring and incorporating values originating from religious ceremonies. The above intensifies the experience of a shifting political meaning. It is often the case that secular organisations take the form of social or political movements, often cloaked by secrecy as to the rules of their operation, like in the case of masonry.

            Fourthly, several types of political ritualism can be distinguished, depending on the role they play in a society. The first type covers those political rituals, which serve integrative purposes in a society, are a means of justification, and consolidate the society around a certain idea (e.g. ceremonies of crowning, Memorial day). The second group is constituted by the rituals treated as conflict-generating. They include, for instance, the annual protestant parades in the catholic part of Northern Ireland, or the student protests at Tiananmen Square in Beijing in 1989. Therefore, it can be observed, that rituals are exploited as a means of consolidating the authority, or as a way to express opposition towards the existing social order.

            Fifthly, political rituals manifested themselves in the twentieth century in the form of mass movements. Democracies are also influenced by rituals, which act as a factor unifying the community and legitimizing the authorities. Therefore, rituals play an important part in channelling tensions and resolving conflicts. This can be exemplified by rituals of rebellion, which in a symbolic form systematize actions of the people dissatisfied with the existing social order. Carnivals are a good example of rituals allowing free expression of emotions. However, rituals are in fact mainly a means of preserving and confirming the existing social order. In the case of some rituals, they can be treated as secular rather than religious: standing up in a courtroom or a witness taking an oath to tell the truth are good examples of the above.

            Sixthly, in the face of globalisation processes gathering pace, fears are often expressed in reference to preserving sovereignty and the existing model of state. Thus, we can witness a return to the ritualistic forms aimed at strengthening the weakened institutions. The rebirth of tribal, ethnical, and religious bonds can be observed. Spectacular performances take place, as for instance demonstrations demanding stopping the processes of globalization on the one hand, and the Davos summit on the other.


1. Nowa encyklopedia powszechna PWN, Warszawa 1996, t. 5, p. 662. Compare: A Dictionary of the Social Sciences, J. Gould, W.L. Kolb (eds.), New York 1964, p. 607-608; K. Weis, Ritual [in:] Soziologie – Lexikon, Wien 1991, p. 486-490; Ritual i ritual’nyi predmet: sbornik nauchnykh trudov, Sankt Peterburg 1995; C. Rich, Ritual, Its Power and Purpose, Northants 1986; D. de Coppet (ed.), Understanding Rituals, London-New York 1992.

2. Worship and Ritual in Christianity and Other Religions, Gregorian University Press, Rome 1974; Ritual [in:] http://newadvent.org/cathen/13088b.html, pp. 1-3.

3. R. K. Merton, Teoria socjologiczna i struktura społeczna, Warszawa 1982, p. 213-215.

4. S. Filipowicz, Twarz i maska, Warszawa 1998, p. 11. Compare the same author Mit i spektakl władzy, Warszawa 1988.

5. Z. Mach, Rytuał, [in:] Encyklopedia socjologii, Warszawa 2000, p. 355. Compare: C.M. Bell, Ritual: Perspectives and Dimensions, New York 1997; C.M. Bell, Ritual Theory, Ritual Practice, New York 1992; P.D. Jones, Rediscovering Ritual, New York 1973; O.E. Klapp, Ritual and Cult, a Sociological Interpretation, Washington 1956; M. Buchowski, Magia i rytuał, Warszawa 1993.

6. K. Olechnicki, P. Załęcki, Słownik socjologiczny, Toruń 1997, p. 34; A Dictionary of the Social Sciences..., p. 82-83.

7. A. Zeidler, Sztuka-mit-hermeneutyka, Warszawa 1988, p. 11.

8. L. Kołakowski, Kultura i fetysze, Warszawa 1967, p. 240-241.

9. A. Zeidler, op. cit., p. 12.

10. P. Śpiewak, Ideologie i obywatele, Warszawa 1991, p. 163-164. Compare: T. Biernat, Mit polityczny, Warszawa 1989.

11. H. Zimoń, Badania nad rytuałami i pojęcie rytuału, „Collectanea Theologica” 1997, nr 3, s. 185. Compare: M. Eliade, Sacrum, mit, historia: wybór esejów, trans. A. Tatarkiewicz, Warszawa 1993.

12. A Dictionary of the Social Sciences…,p. 83.

13. W. L. Warner, Democracy in Jonesville, New York 1949, p. 290-292; W. L. Warner, The Living and the Dead: A Study of the Symbolic Life of Americans, New Haven 1959.

14. See: B. Olszewska-Dyoniziak, Zarys antropologii kultury, Kraków 1996, p. 84-86. Compare: International Encyclopedia of Social Sciences,D. L. Sills (ed.), vol. 13, USA 1968, p. 521.

15. Compare: E. Durkheim, Elementarne formy życia religijnego: system totemiczny, trans. A. Zadrożyńska, Warszawa 1990.

16. J. Goody, Religion and Ritual: The Definitional Problem, “British Journal of Sociology” 1961, vol. XII, s. 142-164.

17. Compare: R.A. Segal (ed.), Ritual and Myth: Robertson Smith, Frazer, Hooke, and Harrison, New York 1996.

18. B. Malinowski, Wierzenia pierwotne i formy ustroju społecznego. O zasadzie ekonomii myślenia, Warszawa 1984.

19. Ibidem, p. 127.

20. Compare: K. Olechnicki, P. Załęcki, Słownik socjologiczny, Toruń 1997, p. 181-182; J. C. Alexander (ed.), Durkheimian Sociology: Cultural Studies, Cambridge 1988; S. F. Moore, B. G. Myerhoff (eds.), Secular Ritual, Assen 1977.

21.T. R. Williams, Cultural Anthropology, New Jersey 1990.

22. In this context it seems helpful to quote the definition proposed by Jerzy Szacki. In his opinion, ritual is a set of standardized or stereotypical activities characteristic of a given situation, when humility towards social norms plays the decisive part, which in some cases refers only, or mainly, to activities concerned with the divine and elevated matters, that is the elements of fundamental importance for the identity of a given community; in other cases, however, it refers to activities, which, due to their repeatability and fixed character, are similar to the above is some respect. Therefore, rejection of one ritual means in fact acceptance of another. J. Szacki, Bycie sobą, “Znak” 1996, no. 5, p. 32, 35. A similar thought has been expressed by Ireneusz Kania, who writes: "Ritual lies in the very heart of culture. An attempt to neglect a ritual leads simply to another kind of ritualistic behavior." I. Kania, Rytuał a kultura, “Znak” 1996, no. 5, p. 101. Compare: R. Bocock, Ritual in Industrial Society: A Sociological Analysis of Ritualism in Modern England, London 1974; E. Leach, Culture and Communication, Cambridge 1976.

23. A. Chodubski, Rytualizm polityczny [in:] Encyklopedia politologii, t. 1, Teoria polityki, W. Sokół, M. Żmigrodzki (eds.), Kraków 1999, p. 261-263; C. M. Bell, Ritual..., p. 128-137; G. Cliford, Negara: The Theater State in Nineteenth Century Bali, Princeton 1980, p. 102, 124, 131.

24. Compare: M. Marczewska-Rytko, Rytualizm polityczny, „Zeszyty Politologiczne. Political Science Newsletters” 2002, no. 4, p. 120-129; S. Lukes, Political Ritual, [in:] The Blackwell Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Social Thought, W. Outhwaite, T. Bottomore (eds.), Oxford 1993, p. 481; M. Edelman, Politics as Symbolic Action, Chicago 1971; M. Edelman, Politik als Ritual – die symbolische Funktion staatlicher Institutionen und staatlichen Handelns,Frankfurt/M. 1976; M. Głowiński, Rytuał i demagogia, Warszawa 1992.

25. D.I. Kertzer, Ritual,Politics, and Power, New Haver 1988, p. 1-2; 15-21; 57-61.

26. Compare opinions expressed by B. Dobraczyński and T. Walas: Między chaosem a porządkiem, „Znak” 1996, no. 5, p. 16, 20.

27. G. Le Bon, Psychologia tłumu, trans. B. Kaprocki, Warszawa 1986, p. 84.

28. E. Wolicka, O potrzebie rytuału, „Znak” 1996, no. 5, p. 4.

29. Ibidem, p. 5. Compare: J.M. Packard,Sons of Heaven: A Portrait of the Japanese Monarchy, New York 1987.

30. E. Wolicka, O potrzebie rytuału..., p. 8.

31. Ibidem, p. 12.

32. P. Lisicki, Pokusa autentyczności, „Znak” 1996, no. 5, p. 63.

33. S. Lukes, Political Ritual…, p. 481.

34. Z. Bauman, Socjologia, Poznań 1996, p. 80-81.

35. Compare: Ibidem, p. 82.

36. W poszukiwaniu ładu serca. Z Pawłem Hertzem rozmawiają Izabella Sariusz-Skąpska i Piotr Kosiewski, „Znak” 1996, no. 5, p. 104.

37. Cz. Madajczyk, Hitleryzm [in:] Encyklopedia socjologii..., p. 290. Compare: E. Fromm, Ucieczka od wolności, trans. O. and A. Ziemilscy, przed. F. Ryszka, Warszawa 1978; F. Ryszka, U źródeł sukcesu i klęski. Szkice z dziejów hitleryzmu, Warszawa 1972; F. Ryszka, Państwo stanu wyjątkowego. Rzecz o systemie państwa i prawa Trzeciej Rzeszy, Wrocław 1964.

38. R. Eatwell, Faszyzm. Historia, trans. T. Oljasz, Poznań 1999, p. 167.

39. Compare: Z. A. B. Zeman, Nazi Propaganda, Oxford 1965; D. Welch, The Third Reich: Politics and Propaganda, London 1993.

40. P. Antoniak, Ceremonie i rytuały, „Tygiel Kultury” 1999, no. 4/6, p. 30.

41. Ibidem, p. 197.

42. A. Speer, Wspomnienia, Warszawa 1990.

43. R. Eatwell, Faszyzm..., p. 200.

44. B. Mussolini, Doktryna faszyzmu, Lwów 1935, paragraf 6.

45. R. Eatwell, Faszyzm..., p. 91.

46. Ibidem,p. 120.

47. Compare: S. Courtois, N. Werth, J.-L. Panné, A. Paczkowski, K. Bartosek, J.-L. Margolin, Czarna księga komunizmu. Zbrodnie, terror, prześladowania, Warszawa 1999.

48. K. Łoziński, Rewolucja ma 200 lat, „Magazyn Gazety Wyborczej” , 2 June 1999, p. 54-55.

49. Quoat.: T. Halik, Wiara, wolność, ateizm, „Gazeta Wyborcza” , 10-11 marca 2001, p. 27.

50. Compare: W poszukiwaniu ładu serca..., p. 105-106.

51. G. Debord, Społeczeństwo spektaklu, Gdańsk 1998.

52. Compare: Ch. Reich, Zieleni się Ameryka, Warszawa 1976; A. Jawłowska, Drogi kontrkultury, Warszawa 1975.

53. J. Grotowski, Święto [in:] A. Mencwel (ed.), Antropologia kultury. Zagadnienia i wybór tekstów, Warszawa 1995, p. 537.

54. J. Grotowski, op. cit., p. 538-539. Compare: R. Schechner, The Future of Ritual. Writings on Culture and Performance, London-New York 1993, p. 245-259.

55. Major wrócił, rozmowa z Waldemarem Fydrychem, Majorem, twórcą Pomarańczowej Alternatywy, „Polityka” 1999, no. 49, p. 56-59.

56. Wypowiedź Ryszarda Legutko, Między chaosem a porządkiem, „Znak” 1996, no. 5, p.14.

57. Ibidem, p. 29.

58. See more: P. Antoniak, Ceremonie..., p. 33.

59. Compare: A. Chodubski, Rytualne wybory [in:] :] Encyklopedia politologii, t. 1, Teoria polityki..., p. 263-264.

60. J. Raciborski, Rytuał, plebiscyt czy wybory?, Warszawa 1989.

61. Ibidem, p. 32.

62. J.J. Wiatr, J. Raciborski, Wybory w PRL: doświadczenia i wnioski, Warszawa 1987, p. 22.

63. Ibidem, p. 211.

64. Compare: D. Zolo, Cosmopolis: Prospects for World Government, Cambridge 1997; D. Zolo, Democracy and Complexity: A Realist Approach, Pensylvania State University 1992.

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