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Book: The Archaeology and Architecture of Monasteries in Ireland, 1100-1600

Chapter: Chapter 2 The anthropology of regular life

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.24179


The essence of monasticism is regulation: a prescribed rule is followed. The essence of a monastic settlement is also regulation: monastic buildings follow a consistent spatial pattern. The submission of individuals to regulated life is intrinsically interesting, and is made more interesting by evidence of the strategies – the sign language in silent orders, for example – that monastics adopted to survive, even subvert, regulation. This chapter considers the concept and reality of regulated community life through the lens of anthropological theory.

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