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Killing TraditionInside Hunting and Animal Rights Controversies$
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Simon J. Bronner

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780813125282

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813125282.001.0001

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Ritual and Controversy at Deer Camp

Ritual and Controversy at Deer Camp

(p.26) (p.27) Chapter 1 Ritual and Controversy at Deer Camp
Killing Tradition

J. Bronner Simon

University Press of Kentucky

This chapter analyzes a cultural scene in the deer camps of Pennsylvania, a leading location for what has been called America's hunting culture. It looks at the rhetoric and strategy of the anti-hunting campaign that has directed its wrath against the images of “barbarism” in the all-male gatherings at deer camp. The chapter notes that deer as a subject are significant because they are the most widely targeted prey among hunters associated with American pioneer heritage. It examines cultural practices or rituals as a process, where, it suggests, the act of ritualization condenses and symbolizes relationships; ritualization is central to the communicative dimension of social life. The chapter points out that participants in the hunting camp socialize around ritual and ritualize the social, symbolizing the conflicts between life and death as well as relationships of masculinity to modernity.

Keywords:   cultural scene, deer camps, Pennsylvania, hunting culture, rituals, social life, masculinity, modernity

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