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FRIHUMSAM-Fri hum og sam

The Politics of Rituals. Communication and power in 12th and 13th century Norway

Alternative title: Ritualer og politikk. Kommunikasjon og makt i 1100- og 1200- tallet Norge

Awarded: NOK 3.3 mill.

"The Politics of Rituals" is a project that aims at analysing rituals and ceremonies in medieval Norway, not only as an arena where power was displayed, but where it was actively made. the project examine medieval rituals along the distinctive phases. First, a pre-phase where organisation and initiativ to summon a ritual to a large extent reveals the actual political balanse and which political function rituals had in the political landscape. the examination of the ritual itself shows how its actors exploited their room for maneuver to influence the execution of the rituals. Finaly, a post-phase where the results of rituals were maximized for political gain. The project also explores rituals in text and how written descriptions of rituals were used for politics. the result of this project is a monograph om rituals in high medieval Norway and a special issue for a journal about secundary actors in medieval rituals in Europe.

The present project aimed at providing new insights in the study of medieval rituals in Norway, ca. 1150-1300.The published and forthcoming material has/will enlight that rituals of power in Norway were an inherent part of political actors' strategies and an exquisite arena for political game.

The project "The Politics of Rituals" aims to analyze the role of rituals and ceremonies in the fabric of power from 1150 to ca 1300 in the realm of Norway. The period was characterized by a significant redefinition of power between the kingship, the Church, the lay aristocracy and the people. By analyzing how these actors coopted with ritual space, the intersections of ritual times, the opportunities for action and performance, and the relationship between rituals and text, we will identify and analyze the mechanims and strategies at play in the manufacture of power and power relations. The project will be based on detailed accounts of rituals in narrative sources as well as ritual staging regulations provided by normative documentary sources. Through research stays abroad and a conference, the project will significantly rely on national and international cooperation and use the results and methodology developed in the international scholarship to renew our approach to Norwegian rituals of power.

Funding scheme:

FRIHUMSAM-Fri hum og sam