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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The crowd at the river tends to be sitting in the water in folding chairs toted down from the campgrounds, or parked along the shore, or turning off their minds, relaxing and floating downstream in various kinds of creative floatation devices. Whether the reader will find convincing the anecdotal evidence she provides ehrenreiich demonstrating their resemblance in intent and result to the primitive rite is unlikely.

Not, however, without point. They are also books where her writing is quite personal and succinct. Go to a festival! But it is more represented by the ztreets subtitle A History of Collective Joy.

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Jun 03, Sami Eerola rated it really liked it Shelves: What does this have to do with Dancing in the Streets? Why this should have happened, and what the consequences have been, are the matter of Barbara Ehrenreich’s witty and quizzical new book, a follow-up to her devastating study of war, Blood Rites. Ehrenreich streers also have read broadly in order to read this book, but she does not seem to have read deeply, and much of the secondary scholarship on which she draws is shockingly dated, dating from the 50s and 60s.

Eventually, the parades and speeches got boring. At football and soccer games, crowds quit being passive spectators.

For most, life in medieval times majored in backbreaking drudgery and poverty. Like Ehrenreich, I want to engage in some speculation. It is interesting to note here that Dr. White kids discovered what black folks had known for a long time — tune into the beat and shake those hips. On the streets, gangs of roughneck brown shirts with swastika armbands aggressively harassed the socialists, Jews, and other undesirables.


We can live without it, as most of us do, but only at the risk of succumbing to the solitary nightmare of depression. This delightful book explained for me my love of communal dancing, ritual, and ecstatic states as a natural, if not totally necessary, aspect of being alive!

Then effect was a little like the “the wave” in sports tthe another phenomenon discussed in Ehrenreich’s bookbut so much more overtly ecstatic I vividly remember being at a slumber party in middle school and dancing with my friends to our favorite music. I see everything at once, without the delays of succession, and each detail is equal and equally lucid Protestants criminalized carnival, Wahhabist Muslims battled ecstatic Sufism, European colonizers wiped out native dance rites.

In the end this book argues that all the mental illnesses and depression that people suffer in society today is caused by lacking of organic dancinh collective joy. Be the first to ask a question about Dancing in the Streets.

Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy

But I do recall the movie made about David Foster Wallace the one with Jason Seagul and how he found a sort of joy in collective dancing. Although her argument is more detailed and more fully developed and street supported by some evidence, it is not convincing.

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 wood floor over sand like a giant porch deck, and deejays pumping out fine mid-tempo floating psychedelic tribal sounds.

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.

Dec 09, Joy rated it really liked it. Events took on carnival characteristics. As Barbara says, “Why not? You will remember that I described Barbara Ehrenreich as enlightened and engaging among best-seller authors, and I was pleased to ehrenrdich her turning her considerable talents to a topic so dear to many of us in the pagan community.

Reading books, playing cards, sleeping, dreaming, making new friends, and charging those internal organic batteries for the long night of unrestrained revelry ahead. For at least 10, years the human race has, at regular and officially sanctioned intervals, abandoned the hard diurnal grind of work and taken to the streets.


The extensive campgrounds are well organized. How purely form it is, without, for the moment, the shadow of meaning. May 23, Jacquelyn Fusco rated it it was amazing. Here, she explores the opposite impulse, one that has been so effectively suppressed that we lack even a term for it: 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.

I greatly enjoyed the reader’s style and verve, but I really wish that she’d taken the time to clarify the pronunciation of non-English words before the recording.

These are not for bedside reading tables. Just go dance about with your neighbors. Her chapter on rock music and how it influenced the counter culture post WWII is very dubious.

It was quite a spectacular opening ceremony at the Portal. Similarly, greater familiarity with scholarly terminology on Ehrenreich’s part would have strengthened her work—when historians or anthropologists refer to things as “liminal”, that does not mean, as she seems to think, that they are dismissing something as marginal or unimportant, but rather that it gains in power or possibility because it straddles the margins of more than one sphere.

Sadly, the author doesn’t deal with this main point nearly enough. Over time, multinational salvation-oriented religions drove wedges into cohesive social relationships. I’d be happy to read a second book focused on that, to be honest – maybe happier than I was with this herenreich. My third big objection is that she makes very little effort to make her thesis relevant to modern life. There is an attempt to address fhrenreich, but the problem is that Ehrenreich’s definition of ecstatic joy is limited to readings of Ancient Greek sources.

For the most part this is a Euro-centric history of how religion dealt with dance throughout history. Carnival, in Goethe’s words, was “a festival that is not really given to the people, but one that the people give themselves”. But being orderly spectators was far less interesting than enthusiastically participating in singing, dancing, and merrymaking.

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