Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 1248
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Ashley , Kathleen and Pamela Sheingorn
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: An Unsentimental View of Ritual in the Middle ages Or, Sainte Foy Was No Snow White [Using ideas from cultural studies that emphasize social and political tensions, the authors examine the ritual processes surrounding the reliquary of St. Foy as reflected in the collection of her miracles compiled in the eleventh century. Rather than serving to resolve conflict, St. Foy appears as a partisan of the male monastery in Conques, as a threatening figure who punishes those who do not obey her, and as a magnet for popular religious devotion, sometimes beyond the control of the monks.].
  • Source: Journal of Ritual Studies 6, 1 (Winter 1992): Pages 63 - 85.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Journal Article
  • Subject (See Also): Anthropology Bernard d'Angers, Schoolmaster and an Unknown Monk of Conques- Liber Miraculorum Sanctae Fidis Cultural Studies Foy, Martyr, Saint Hagiography Images Lay Piety Miracles Monks Popular Culture Reliquaries Ritual Theory
  • Geographic Area: France
  • Century: 11
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  • Illustrations: One illustration. Figure One Reliquary-statue of Sainte Foy, 10th century (Conques, Church of Sainte Foy).
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  • Abstract: The paper argues that ritual theories (especially those of Victor Turner and other symbolic anthropologists) overemphasize the achivement of "community" through ritual. Contemporary British cultural theory suggests that ritual serves to articulate, but not necessarily to resolve, contesting ideologies and thus provides a convenient site for social negotiation. These theories are examined in the light of materials from the eleventh-century cult of Sainte Foy of Conques in southern France. Through ritual, the monks of the Conques monastery attempted to channel the power of their miracle-working saint into the reliquary-statue they controlled and to use the statue and the rituals surrounding it for their own monastic ends. Local elites, contesting the monks' attempt to achieve political and economic dominance in their region, often resisted the rituals or manipulated them to their own ends. Peasant worshippers also asserted their rights to perform their own rituals in the presence of the reliquary-statue.
  • Author's Affiliation:
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 1992.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 08901112
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