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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After the Hitler show was reduced to rubble, Ehrenreich discussed two new fads that seemed like modern attempts to revive ecstatic rituals ehrenreuch rock music, and sporting events.

All in all, the history is not very comprehensive and often unconvincing. As the triumph of masculinism and militarism over the anarchic traditions of a simpler agrarian age, of the patriarchal “sky-gods” like Yahweh and Zeus over the great goddess and her consorts.

I wish the author focused more on the history of this in other areas of the world than northern europe. Though I’m not a historian, the author’s viewpoint of pre-protestant reformation Europe being this great society, buoyed by daancing Carvinal tradition, only to be turned into a society of unhappy, stressed, depressed people by the elimination of the group dance aspects ehrsnreich Christianity seem a stretch.

Be the first to ask a question about Dancing in the Streets. For those of you who have often wondered about dancing, and its various social incarnations, this book is for you. The extensive campgrounds are well organized. This is a loaded question, but suppositions aside, the history of group festivities makes for fascinating reading. Retrieved from ” https: Great history book that not just tells the history of street dancing, but also the history of Western culture, imperialism and capitalism.

Apr 05, Siria rated it liked it Shelves: Around the perimeter, antiaircraft searchlights were aimed straight up into the night, creating an awe-inspiring circular colonnade of light beams. No trivia or quizzes yet. This book is ehrenerich the intersection of so many of my interests.


The communal celebration always carried the appeal for me, but I also never have felt like I belonged enough to participate daning lose myself in communal joy.

They did not worship invisible deities, because that required a vivid imagination. At football and soccer games, crowds quit being passive spectators. As a white American, I have always felt an important part of myself locked down, and tied up. I vividly remember being at a slumber party in middle school and dancing with my friends to our favorite music.

In Teutonic MythologyGrimm described annual German bonfires: I’m beginning to think that everyone has an explanation for depression. There were synchronized crowd movements, chants, dancing, feasting, and singing.

The topic — group dance, ecstatic joy experienced in groups, and trance states — seems under explored and appreciated.

In the west in the 19th and early 20th centuries, festivities had ehrenrrich replaced by spectacles, whether concerts at which the audience sat mute and motionless, or huge organised events such as the rallies of Hitler and Mussolini at which the spectators, scarcely less well-drilled streeets the marching soldiers they beheld, were reduced to utter passivity.

Not, however, without point. For the most part this is a Euro-centric history of how religion dealt with dance throughout history. This habit persisted until around the 13th and 14th centuries; it was finally stamped out, in the west, by the 17th. Ehrenreich’s introduction to Dancing in the Streets: Particularly interesting are the ways early Christianity still contained many aspects of earlier ecstatic traditions.

Open Preview See a Problem? Reading books, playing cards, sleeping, dreaming, making new friends, and charging those internal organic batteries for the long night of unrestrained revelry ahead. The powerful elements of society gradually convert the participants into spectators.

This conversion drains the events of their power, and the cycle begins anew.

What’s kind of accidentally? Sep 17, Steve Wegman rated it did not like it.

Dancing in the Streets – Wikipedia

Want to Read Currently Reading Read. But I am not impressed with her grasp etreets religious history nor her style of psychological conjecture to support her points.


The parallels between Jesus and Dionysus are striking as Ehrenreich lists them. Believers were encouraged to regularly contemplate their shortcomings, and worry about where their souls would reside in the afterlife.

Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy

Long, long before the plague of Puritans, Europeans had deep roots in their ancestral lands, places that were spiritually alive with sacred groves, streams, mountains, animals, and fairies. Maybe she was there, at least in spirit, who knows? This is in fact how Robert Graves, Joseph Campbell, and many since them have understood the emergence of a distinctly Western culture: Preview — Dancing in the Streets by Barbara Ehrenreich.

There is mention of contemporary people who dance to hypnotic drumming, but there are no interviews with these musicians and dancers. The author coins the term “collective joy” to describe group events which involve music, synchronized movement, costumes, and a feeling of loss of self. The events generally arise spontaneously and are regarded as dangerous see Collective hysteriaRiot.

And then we are brought to the present time when Dancing in the Streets is brought to you by rock concerts indoors and then outdoors. The analyses of fascism, sport, and rock are not very convincing, and I’m not wild about placing them together in a way that equates them with one another. I’d just go back and reread it, except that she has written so many other books that I now want to read. Ehrenreich uncovers the origins of communal celebration in human biology and culture.

Accompanied by drums and pipes, in masks and costumes, people, often hand in hand and usually in circles, sang and danced, faster and faster, until a climactic state of shared bliss was attained.

I love the way Barbara Ehrenreich delved into our much needed desire for group acceptance and bonding.