*My intellectual debt to Professor Rodney Needham, which is evident throughout the pages of this essay, is exceeded only by my personal debt to him for his patience and guidance as my supervisor while at Oxford. I also wish to thank Anthony Synnott, Erik Schwimmer, Michael Lambek, Jérôme Rousseau, Sheila van Wyck and Chris Trott for their criticisms of earlier versions of this paper. This manuscript was received in September 1986 and accepted in January 1987.
Olfaction and transition: an essay on the ritual uses of smell
Article first published online: 14 JUL 2008
Canadian Review of Sociology/Revue canadienne de sociologie
Volume 24, Issue 3, pages 398–416, August 1987
How to Cite
HOWES, D. (1987), Olfaction and transition: an essay on the ritual uses of smell. Canadian Review of Sociology/Revue canadienne de sociologie, 24: 398–416. doi: 10.1111/j.1755-618X.1987.tb01103.x
- Issue published online: 14 JUL 2008
- Article first published online: 14 JUL 2008
11 y a une connexion intrins6que entre I'olfaction et la transition, c'est-8-dire, le changement de catkgories. Etant donnk que cette association se retrouve dans le contexte des divers rites de passage 8 travers le monde, elle semble Otre universelle. C'est a cause du fait que les odeurs 6mannent toujours de leurs objets, et qu'habituellement elles signalent les processus de transformation, v.g., cuisson, putrkfaction, qu'elles sont utiliskes comme mkdiateurs (et comme support aux transitions) entre des catbgories sociales.
There is an intrinsic connection between olfaction and transition, or category-change. This association would appear to be universal, for it finds expression in the context of diverse rites of passage the world over. The author suggests that it is because smells constantly escape from their objects, and because of the way they normally signal processes of transformation, e.g., cooking, putrefaction, that they are used to mediate (and manage transitions) between social categories.