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Why the Sponsorship of Korean Shamanic Healing Rituals is Best Explained by the Clients’ Ostensible Reasons

Thomas G. Park

Abstract

Various scholars have suggested that the main function of Korean shamanic rituals is the change of the participants’ feelings. I elaborate what these scholars potentially mean by “function”, challenge what I take to be their core claim, and argue that at least in the case of Korean shamanic healing rituals their sponsorship has rather to be explained based on the clients’ ostensible motivational and belief-states. Korean clients sponsor such rituals because they want their beloved ones to be healed and because they believe that the shamanic ritual can potentially accomplish such healing. I underpin this thesis by two representative actual Korean shamanic healing rituals.

Keywords

Ritual; Shamanism; Korea; Action Theory; Intentional Action; Religious Rites

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