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Social inequality and signaling in a costly ritual

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XYGALATAS Dimitrios MAŇO Peter BAHNA Vladimír KUNDTOVÁ KLOCOVÁ Eva KUNDT Radek LANG Martin SHAVER John Hayward

Rok publikování 2021
Druh Článek v odborném periodiku
Časopis / Zdroj Evolution and Human Behavior
Fakulta / Pracoviště MU

Filozofická fakulta

Citace
www https://doi.org/10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2021.05.006
Doi http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2021.05.006
Klíčová slova Social status; Costly signaling; Mauritius; Ritual
Popis Evolutionary perspectives suggest that participation in collective rituals may serve important communicative functions by signaling practitioners' commitment to the community and its values. While previous research has examined the effects of ritual signals at the individual and collective level, there has been limited attention directed to the impact of socio-environmental factors on the quality of ritual signaling. We examined this impact in the context of the Thaipusam Kavadi, a collective ritual performed by Tamil Hindus worldwide that involves body piercings and other costly activities. We show that participants' relative position in the social hierarchy systematically affects the form of ritual signaling. Specifically, we found that low-status participants are more likely to engage in signaling modalities that require somatic and opportunity costs in the form of body piercings and cumulative effort, while high-status individuals are more likely to use financial capital, in the form of more elaborate material offerings to the deity. Moreover, signaling in each particular modality is stronger among individuals who participate in more public (but not private) rituals, corresponding to their long-term commitment to the community. In sum, our results demonstrate that social hierarchies exact unequal requirements on ritual participants, who in turn modify their signaling strategies accordingly.
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