Ignoring the problem

Spatial strategies for ameliorating social contradictions in early South Asian Buddhism

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In the last 50 years, anthropologists have come to understand that cultures are fractured and fractious rather than carefully balanced systems. In this time, many anthropologists, often relying on theoretical understandings of power, have sought to explain how social fissures and social contradictions are resolved, exploited or synthesized. In this article, I propose another way people accommodate irresolvable social contradictions - they ignore them. Through a study of the architectural layout of early Buddhist worship halls in South Asia (c.250 BCE-100 CE), this article examines spatial strategies for ignoring intractable social contradictions. Ancient Buddhist monks ameliorated contradictions between the need for individual asceticism and communalism by spatially separating the simultaneous experience of contradictory ritual acts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)194-211
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Social Archaeology
Volume11
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2011

Fingerprint

asceticism
Buddhism
South Asia
layout
religious behavior
experience
time
Anthropologists
Buddhist
Asia
Layout
Asceticism
Worship
Communalism
Monks
Contradictory

Keywords

  • archaeology
  • early Buddhism
  • religion
  • separation
  • social contradiction
  • South Asia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology

Cite this

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