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Dancing in the Streets
A History of Collective Joy

Ehrenreich, Barbara
Publisher:  Granta
Year Published:  2007   First Published:  2006
Pages:  321pp   ISBN:  978-0-8050-5724-9
Library of Congress Number:  GT3940.E47 2007   Dewey:  394.26-dc22
Resource Type:  Book

An account of the toll that depression has taken on European and North American health since the 18th century.

Abstract:  Dancing in the Streets explores a human impulse that has been so effectively suppressed that we lack even a term for it: the desire for collective joy, historically expressed in revels of feasting, costuming, and dancing. Drawing on a wealth of history and anthropology, Ehrenreich uncovers the origins of communal celebration in human biology and culture. From the earliest orgiastic near Eastern rites to the medieval practice of Christianity as a "danced religion" and the transgressive freedoms of carnival, she demonstrates that mass festivities have long been central to the Western tradition. In recent centuries, this tradition has been repressed, cruelly and often bloodily. But as Ehrenreich argues, the celebratory impluse is too deeply ingrained in human nature ever to be completely extinguished.


Table of Contents

Introduction: Invitation to the Dance
1. The Archaic Roots of Ecstasy
2. Civilization and Backlash
3. Jesus and Dionysus
4. From the Churches to the Streets: The Creation of Carnival
5. Killing Carnival: Reformation and Repression
6. A Note on Puritanism and Military Reform
7. An Epidemic of Melancholy
8. Guns Against Drums: Imperialism Encounters Ecstasy
9. Fascist Spectacles
10. The Rock Rebellion
11. Carnivalizing Sports
Conclusion: The Possibility of Revival


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