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ReligionMaterial Dynamics$
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David Chidester

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780520297654

Published to California Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520297654.001.0001

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(p.30) 2 Sacred

David Chidester

University of California Press

This chapter examines a category, “that which is set apart,” which has been crucial for the Durkheimian tradition in the study of religion. Separated from the ordinary, the everyday, or the profane, the sacred is set apart in such a way that it is central to social formations. Exploring the dynamics of the sacred by viewing Chris Rock’s documentary Good Hair, which takes us from Christian hair styling to Hindu temple rituals, this chapter shows how the sacred is produced through extraordinary attention, regular ritualization, sacrificial exchanges, and inevitable contestations over the ownership of the sacred.

Keywords:   attention, Chris Rock, Christian hair styling, Émile Durkheim, Hindu temple rituals, ownership of the sacred, profane, ritual, sacred, sacrifice

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