Publication 1131

Graf H. (2014) From wasteland to flower bed: Ritual in the website communication of urban activist gardeners. Culture Unbound. Journal of Current Cultural Research 6: 451–471. Fulltext at https://cepa.info/1131
The goal of this article is to explore the website communication of urban activist gardeners by focusing on the concept of ritual as a heuristic category. In contrast to the majority of those doing research on ritual, I use a systems-theoretical approach in applying the concept of ritual to communication processes. I explore the role played by ritual in communication in order to answer questions such as, “What is specifically unique about the ritual mode of communicating?” and, following from this, “What function do these rituals serve in communication?” My subject, urban garden activism, is thus addressed from the perspective of media- and communication research. First, I briefly describe urban activist gardening and how communication is usually structured on their websites. Second, I present an outline of some theories and concepts of communication and ritual within media studies, and give a brief account of the systems-theoretical approach that I use. Third, I define some areas of ritual – that is, ritualized patterns of communication found in the urban activist gardeners’ empirical material – so as to provide answers regarding the means and function of ritual in communication. Relevance: The role of ritual is explored from Luhmann’s systems-theoretical approach.

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