Dancing in the Streets

A History of Collective Joy by Barbara Ehrenreich

  • Published: Aug 28, 2020

From the bestselling social commentator and cultural historian comes Barbara Ehrenreich's fascinating exploration of one of humanity's oldest traditions the celebration of communal joy In the acclaimed Blood Rites, Barbara Ehrenreich delved into... read more

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Details of Dancing in the Streets

Exact title of the book
Dancing in the Streets
Book author
Barbara Ehrenreich
ISBN
9781429904650
Publisher
Henry Holt and Co.
Published
Dec 26, 2007
Language
English
Format
PDF, FB2, EPUB, MOBI
Pages
336
File size (in PDF)
3024 kB

Some brief overview of book

From the bestselling social commentator and cultural historian comes Barbara Ehrenreich's fascinating exploration of one of humanity's oldest traditions the celebration of communal joy In the acclaimed Blood Rites, Barbara Ehrenreich delved into the origins of our species' attraction to war. Here, she explores the opposite impulse, one that has been so effectively suppressed that we lack even a term for it the desire for collective joy, historically expressed in ecstatic revels of feasting, costuming, and dancing. Ehrenreich uncovers the origins of communal celebration in human biology and culture.

Although sixteenth-century Europeans viewed mass festivities as foreign and "savage," Ehrenreich shows that they were indigenous to the West, from the ancient Greeks' worship of Dionysus to the medieval practice of Christianity as a "danced religion." Ultimately, church officials drove the festivities into the streets, the prelude to widespread reformation Protestants criminalized carnival, Wahhabist Muslims battled ecstatic Sufism, European colonizers wiped out native dance rites. The elites' fear that such gatherings would undermine social hierarchies was justified the festive tradition inspired French revolutionary crowds and uprisings from the Caribbean to the American plains. Yet outbreaks of group revelry persist, as Ehrenreich shows, pointing to the 1960s rock-and-roll rebellion and the more recent "carnivalization" of sports.

Original, exhilarating, and deeply optimistic, Dancing in the Streets concludes that we are innately social beings, impelled to share our joy and therefore able to envision, even create, a more peaceable future. "Fascinating . .

. An admirably lucid, level-headed history of outbreaks of joy from Dionysus to the Grateful Dead."Terry Eagleton, The Nation

About author

Ehrenreich is the author of many books, including Blood Rites and the New York Times bestsellers Nickel and Dimed and Bait and Switch. A frequent contributor to Harper's and The Nation, she has been a columnist at The New York Times and Time magazine. She lives in Virginia.

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