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On the visibility of ritual meaning in Communion: Prerequisites and implications regarding architecture-for-interaction and social topography

  • The article starts by outlining the theoretical and conceptual foundations in the field of multimodal interaction analysis, which, based on its spatiallinguistic orientation, deals with the meaning of space for the constitution of social meaning. Conceptually, we refer to the ideas of architecture-forinteraction and social topography. Empirically, we look towards the entire range of visually perceptible physical expressions of the Communion participants. We also focus on the spatial prerequisites and the space-related knowledge of the visitors, which becomes evident in their situational behaviour. From our point of view, Communion is not only a ritual in worship but also a task of coordination and positioning. We analyse video excerpts of two Communions in Lutheran-Protestant worship. The central question is: How do the people who hand out the sacrament to the participants take part in the procedure themselves (self-supply)? The video excerpts are from Germany(Rimbach and Zotzenbach, South Hesse). We see self-supply as a situational reproduction of institutional structures and relevancies. Methodologically, we first analyse an example in detail, in which we elaborate constitutive aspects of self-supply and the associated implications in the sense of an arising communitisation of the faithful. The subsequent analysis is carried out from a comparative perspective with reference to the results already obtained. The analyses lead to two basic models. Firstly, we identified a two-phase model in which first the churchgoers and then separately the institution’s representatives celebrate Communion. Structurally linked to this model is the is the diverging presence of those who have already completed the ritual, divergence resulting in two ensembles with their respective interaction space. The churchgoers watch the pastor and his assistants perform the ritual themselves. Secondly, we were able to formulate an integrative model in which the pastor celebrates Communion as one of the community. This preserves cohesion among all churchgoers and there is no ritual display of the institution’s representatives as in the two-phase model. As for model-shaping factors, two aspects become particularly clear: The first are the opportunities which the architecture-forinteraction, i.e. the concrete space for the Communion, provides. The second is the number of participants who perform the ceremony under these spatial conditions. Both aspects have a direct impact on the organisation of Communion, the movement within the church space and, indirectly, on the structure and implications of self-supply.

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Author:Reinhold Schmitt, Anna А. Petrova, Max Blunck
Parent Title (English):ΠΡΑΞΗMΑ (Praxema). Journal of Visual Semiotics
Publisher:Ministry of science and higher education of Russian Federation; Tomsk State Pedagogical University
Place of publication:Tomsk
Document Type:Article
Year of first Publication:2019
Date of Publication (online):2019/07/01
Tag:Communion; architecture-for-interaction; coordination; interaction space; multimodal interaction analysis; multimodality; social topography; socio-spatial positioning; visibility of ritual meaning; worship
GND Keyword:Architektur; Interaktionsanalyse; Multimodalität; Raum; Sozialtopografie
First Page:93
Last Page:118
DDC classes:400 Sprache / 420 Englisch
Open Access?:ja
Leibniz-Classification:Sprache, Linguistik
Linguistics-Classification:Pragmalinguistik / Kommunikationsforschung
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - CC BY-NC - Namensnennung - Nicht kommerziell 4.0 International