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CahokiaA World Renewal Cult Heterarchy$
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A. Martin Byers

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780813029580

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813029580.001.0001

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The Deontic Ecological Perspective

The Deontic Ecological Perspective

(p.31) 2 The Deontic Ecological Perspective

A. Martin Byers

University Press of Florida

The deontic sphere of a social system constitutes the moral, ethical, and legal principles and the complex set of rules and protocols that are basic to the social structure of a community. There is a connection between mortuary practices, economy, and ecology. This linkage is deontic in nature. This chapter highlights the way in which materials displaying formal properties are used as symbols, even when these materials have properties designed to serve certain instrumental goals of the users. In trying to make sense of the symbolic utilization of material artifacts, most archaeologists draw an analogy with words, typically treating words as referential symbols. It is noted that the appropriate term with which to characterize the deontic nature of the social relation a group holds with its territory is tenure. The chapter then addresses the role of ritual practices in a world that is experienced as immanently sacred, thus showing how these can be understood as a part of ecological processes. Specifically covered in this chapter are midwifery ritual and world renewal ritual.

Keywords:   deontic sphere, deontic nature, tenure, midwifery ritual, world renewal ritual, referential symbols, ecology

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