Symbolic Types: A Ritual of Impurity

Mina Meir-Dviri
Symbolic Types: A Ritual of Impurity

The semi-commune “Little Home” is a cultural enclave whose beliefs and idiosyncratic, seemingly chaotic interactions are based on gender relations translated into the terms of the purity and impurity of the female body. This framework is the scene of fictional and real kinship relations that play distinct roles within this mini-society and are dominated by symbolic types, which determine their social context. This article examines a ritual of purification performed by the Father/leader of the semi-commune. In this ritual, the Father enters into a symbolic type that is impure to restore male-perceived order and dominance. This is in response to the disordering capacity of a phenomenon I call a “wave,” which is perceived as the potential of the female.

© American Anthropological Association

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