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"This edited volume, full of new and original perspectives, makes an important contribution to the anthropological and historical study of ritual...this fine collection of essays is a challenging and provocative contribution to the study of ritual, and certainly one that ought to change the ways in which anthropologists conceive of ritual." * Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute Historically, canonic studies of ritual have discussed and explained ritual organization, action, and transformation primarily as representations of broader cultural and social orders. In the present, as in the past, less attention is given to the power of ritual to organize and effect transformation through its own dynamics. Breaking with convention, the contributors to this volume were asked to discuss ritual first and foremost in relation to itself, in its own right, and only then in relation to its socio-cultural context. The results attest to the variable capacities of rites to effect transformation through themselves, and to the study of phenomena in their own right as a fertile approach to comprehending ritual dynamics. Born in Montreal, Don Handelman is Sarah Allen Shaine Professor of Anthropology & Sociology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities. He has written extensively on ritual, play, expressive culture, and bureaucratic logic and the modern state. Galina Lindquist was born in Russia, and trained as anthropologist in Sweden. She received her degree at the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Stockholm, for the study of urban shamans in Scandinavia. Since then she has done work in medical anthropology and anthropology of religion, with a special focus on folk religious and healing practices.