The aim of the workshop is to discuss a wide range of ritual practices including seasonal festivities, ancestor veneration activities, praying for good luck and similar events as dynamic arenas where collective emotions are staged and subjective well-being emerges. We define well-being as broadly containing the three aspects of enjoyment, accomplishment and satisfaction. Ritual practices and processes are more often associated with strict etiquette, social order and hierarchy than with the expression of personal emotion or self-improvement. We will examine what role the staging and venting of emotions plays on ritualized occasions and what eudaimonic features can be observed. The underlying assumption is that emotional states such as well-being and happiness are constituted to a significant extent by the individual‟s engagement with its social environment, drawing on Kitayama‟s and Markus‟ notion of well-being as a „collaborative project‟ (2000). We will focus on repetitive practices as a communication site that serves as the starting point for the negotiation of subjective well-being. Special attention will be directed to the issue of individual agency, how it is framed in the larger social context in which the ritual takes place and aspects of self-enhancement that emerge in the process.
Well-being in Ritual Practices asks two main questions: 1) What insights does the combined study of ritual and well-being provide? To what degree and in what ways are the concepts of “ritual as well-being” and “well-being as ritual” useful in the fields of area studies, Japanese studies and anthropology? 2) What results does the combined examination of well-being and ritual yield with regard to the negotiation of selfhood in its wider social framework?
Date: 13.10.2011 – 15.10.2011
Organized by: German Institute for Japanese Studies (DIJ), Tokyo, Japan in collaboration with Interdisziplinäres Zentrum für Historische Anthropologie, Freie Universität Berlin