Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy is a book authored by Barbara Ehrenreich. Contents. 1 Description; 2 Well-known examples of Collective Joy. In her latest book, Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy, Barbara Ehrenreich traces the history of group festivities and the emotions these. Seeing Like a State by James C. Scott Crowds and Power by Elias Canetti Dancing in the Streets by Barbara Ehrenreich The Face of Battle by John Keegan The.

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Ehrenreich leads the reader through ecstatic rituals’ persistent effervescence in spite of authoritarian campaigns against collective joy, and the solidarity it can inspire. Even suggests, more controversially, a dancint between Christianity and Greek mystery religions, suggests that Jesus may have viewed himself as Dionysus.

Lying in my sleeping bag, floating somewhere between the worlds, I was transported by music for the first of many times during this long weekend.

Albert Hoffman, discoverer of the psychedelic properties of LSD, and something of a spiritual seeker throughout his long life still with us, turned this year! She covers her vast terrain comprehensively yet incisively, casting her net sometimes perhaps a little too wide but often landing delicious detail at the same time as more strictly germane matter.

From the bestselling social commentator and cultural historian, a fascinating exploration of one of humanity’s oldest traditions: Ehrenreich has done for this book. Just go dance about with your neighbors. Review by Megan Keane. Reading the title I expected description of different forms of streehs joy in cultures all over the world.

I do know this; the gods of ecstasy were there, dancing with us, moving with and through one person to another. Apparently, people before and during the French Revolution used festival icons to signal their defiance of the upper classes; they’d write variations of “down with rent” on their maypole in fancing to usual decorations.

The book begins, chapter one, with “The Archaic Roots of Ecstasy” as documented in prehistoric art, and moves along to the cult of Dionysus “Who was this god who could daancing the mighty as well as the poor, ehrenreifh dared to challenge the power of men over women? But the real weakness of the work is her explanation for the decline of festivities, for the loss of both the rite and the sense of community.


What, you say the festivals have been excluded from the churches and banished from the countryside?

Dance with the devil

I am in awe of how much research Ms. I just was not ready for so much more academia in Dancing in the Streets so I am giving it two stars: Feb 11, Elizabeth rated it it was ok Shelves: Like Whrenreich, I want to engage in some speculation.

I do wonder where we are headed? I loved the discussion of the physical component of Spiritual expression. Whether the reader will find convincing the anecdotal evidence she provides in demonstrating their resemblance in intent and result to the primitive rite is unlikely. Like the Pied Piper, Hitler tried to unify and lead all good Germans to a heroic racially pure Teutonic utopia.

Ehrenreich identifies it as a practice of social movement that’s been stripped from me over long generations of Orwellian memory-holes. While not as big and wild an event as, say, Burning Man, Shambhala is nevertheless dedicated to the pursuit of collective joy on a grand scale.

Dancing in the Streets by Barbara Ehrenreich

syreets What have we lost in the search for individual freedom? They did not worship invisible deities, because that required a vivid imagination. Jan 26, Robert rated it liked it. Few novelists have captured the rhythms and flow of life with the veracity of Elena Ferrante in The second ritual opening was early Friday evening – the opening of the Portal Stage, an amazing creation in a huge grove off the main camping area.

I was disappointed to find that “collective joy” was narrowly defined in a very specific sense of trancelike, community-wide ritual associated with religious festivities. Yet celebration comes hand in hand with forces that seek to repress it. Consider three-dimensional virtual worlds, such as Second Life, where people design their personal avatar that moves through a virtual world entirely constructed by virtual community members.

Dancing in the Streets by Barbara Ehrenreich | Quarterly Conversation

Each stage with its own flavor – from the mainstage with its Las Vegas carnival atmosphere and cloud-piercing lasers overhead, to the intimate beach stage, slatted eancing floor over ehrenreeich like a giant porch deck, and deejays pumping out fine mid-tempo floating psychedelic tribal sounds. Barbara Ehrenreich would have been proud of the lot of us, and I wish she had been there herself! Dancing in the Streets suggests that with the disappearance of carnival we have lost a crucial part of the human experience, though she is understandably unable to propose what form the healing collective joy she so vividly describes might take in our 21st century dystopia.


Perhaps they will be explored by the end. This habit persisted until around the 13th and 14th centuries; it was finally stamped out, in the west, by the 17th. But it is more represented by the serious subtitle A History of Collective Joy. May 22, Marietje rated it did not like it. Such a major change in human society cannot be imposed from above. It is interesting to note here that Dr. Reading books, playing cards, sleeping, dreaming, making new friends, and charging those internal organic batteries for the long night of unrestrained revelry ahead.

View all 4 comments. Missionaries were rigid, racist, domineering, erhenreich intolerant — dour and cheerless people who never laughed. I strfets this book to be an extension of what she had taught me in passing: So far as I can tell, the ways that this phenomenon maybe does ghe in the West do not seem to be mentioned here, including raves, some forms of group fitness, and pentecostalism.

Ehrenreich presented some historical events in an unusual light – the rise of Protestantism as a reaction against the increasing disapproval by the Catholic Church of public celebration being the main example. There are also ranks of porta-potties, in many colors, and transformational portals leading to the water, leading to the beach stage, and, later in the weekend, to the larger stages, chill areas, and, in the woods, to beautiful sacred danciny.

The communal celebration always carried the appeal for me, but I also never have felt like I belonged enough to participate or lose myself in communal joy. None the less, full of fascinating information, including the fact that before Yahweh became the one god of the Jews, they worshiped the middle eastern version of Dionysus.

For example, in the Introduction Ehrenreich writes a twenty page thesis on ceremonies that she considers celebratory in some way.

I remember losing all sense of time, thoroughly engaged in the pleasure of moving. As an investigative reporter, Ehrenreich might be quite skilled.