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Discussions of both semiotics and ritual have undergone a fundamental reorientation over the past several decades. Traditionally, both were east in a cognitivist vocabulary in which what is known is regarded as primitive and what is done is treated as behavior scripted by knowledge. When treated in this way, semiotics reduces to studies of the encoding and decoding of messages and ritual studies to articulations of the mythic content imbedded in ritual practices. These studies flesh out an alternative, non-cognitivist vocabulary. According to this approach primacy is to be accorded to process over structure, to practice over knowledge, to ritual over ideology. The essays in this volume explore some of the key aspects in which rituals and sign systems form, interact, reinforce, transform and interpret one another, especially in the context of legal institutions.