The discussion chapter contextualizes the essays in this volume on the scholarship of ritual and archaic states. It highlights the importance of ritual as an inherent part of a cultural narrative in past and present societies alike, and how, by studying ritual and its relationship to cultural practices and social organization, we can better understand diverse social groups. The review of the chapters stresses how the authors provide a variety of methodological and interpretive tools. These include the cautious use of ethnographic and ethnohistorical analogy, phenomenological recreations–based universals of human perception and movement, and minute analysis of the discards of ritual and performances, from trash to valued items placed with the deceased.
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