• Title: Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy
  • Author: Barbara Ehrenreich
  • ISBN: 9780805057249
  • Page: 456
  • Format: Paperback
  • Dancing in the Streets A History of Collective Joy Fascinating An admirably lucid level headed history of outbreaks of joy from Dionysus to the Grateful Dead Terry Eagleton The NationWidely praised as impressive The Washington Post Book World ambi
    Fascinating An admirably lucid, level headed history of outbreaks of joy from Dionysus to the Grateful Dead Terry Eagleton, The NationWidely praised as impressive The Washington Post Book World , ambitious The Wall Street Journal , and alluring The Los Angeles Times , Dancing in the Streets explores a human impulse that has been so effectively suppresse Fascinating An admirably lucid, level headed history of outbreaks of joy from Dionysus to the Grateful Dead Terry Eagleton, The NationWidely praised as impressive The Washington Post Book World , ambitious The Wall Street Journal , and alluring The Los Angeles Times , 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, Barbara Ehrenreich uncovers the origins of communal celebration in human biology and culture From the earliest orgiastic Mesopotamian 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 festive tradition has been repressed, cruelly and often bloodily But as Ehrenreich argues in this original, exhilarating, and ultimately optimistic book, the celebratory impulse is too deeply ingrained in human nature ever to be completely extinguished.

    One Reply to “Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy”

    1. Es el primer ensayo que leo así que no tengo mucho conocimiento pero debo decir que me gustó mucho pues nos guía a través de los principios de nuestra historia, pasando por la época de Jesús, Dionisio, la revolución industrial, el nacimiento del carnaval, la época del rock y de los hippies, terminado con los eventos deportivos de hoy en día. Es impresionante como nos seguimos comportando como hace miles de años y como siempre los "ricos" y la iglesia han querido evitar este éxtasis co [...]

    2. Barbara Ehrenreich is one of my hero authors because of her books Nickel and Dimed and Bait and Switch. She has written a number of other books but these two address social issues that I find particularly compelling. They are also books where her writing is quite personal and succinct. On the other hand Dancing in the Streets hammers home its points by excessive repetition. For example, in the Introduction Ehrenreich writes a twenty page thesis on ceremonies that she considers celebratory in som [...]

    3. Four out of five stars for the idea, two out of five stars for execution. Ehrenreich's introduction to Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy points out a quizzical disconnect in modern Western culture. We put an awful lot of time and effort into studying depression, malaise, the things that make us happy and the things that isolate us, but very little effort into studying the things that make us happy or which bring us together. Ehrenreich traces the history of expressions of commu [...]

    4. Barbara Ehrenreich’s DANCING IN THE STREETS is both a celebration of dancing and a condemnation of the authorities who are trying to prevent large groups of people from running amok in the interests of law and order.This wonderful book is a potted history of dance, from its roots back in the misty past, through various ancient civilizations and up through the present day. Ms. Ehrenreich conveys how natural it was to dance and how this is a knack that many of us have lost today. People who eith [...]

    5. 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. This is further defined (or at least described) as being characterized by a loss of individual consciousness and orientation on a level that would be considered pathological in other contexts. Working from this restrictive definition, the author takes the view that such occasions have vanished, and that we have lost an essentia [...]

    6. the basic premise of the book is excellent: carnival is subversive and collective joy teaches people how to overthrow hierarchies. Sadly, the author doesn't deal with this main point nearly enough. Instead, she goes on several tangents which not only add little but can be widely off the mark too. At the very beginning she makes a case for collective dancing being hard-wired in human genes, which is as biologically deterministic as they come. By the end, she makes a case for the carnivalization o [...]

    7. Ehrenreich leads the reader through ecstatic rituals' persistent effervescence in spite of authoritarian campaigns against collective joy, and the solidarity it can inspire.As a white American, I have always felt an important part of myself locked down, and tied up. Ehrenreich identifies it as a practice of social movement that's been stripped from me over long generations of Orwellian memory-holes.

    8. I liked this and found it an interesting read. 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. I was also fascinated by the idea, provocative although not well-supported, that the early Christians were shaped by Dionysian cults, because the Roman Jews were also followers of Dionysus. I'd love to see some more evidence along those lines [...]

    9. i liked the concept, i agreed with many of her argumentsbut could not deal with it's half-assed research and academic posturing. there were all kinds of research problems, logical fallacies, and an almost gratuitous use of the word "masking", but my one major bugaboo, which completely drove me up a wall through the entire book was her frequently bashing of anthropologists for using words she felt were derogatory, without actually bothering to *understand the definitions of the words*. specifical [...]

    10. This was more of a history of the *suppression* of collective joy rather than the rituals of joy themselves. 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. The author also comes to some interesting conclusions about how our culture went from first hand experience of divinity through ecstatic ritual, to "faith", which, if you look at it honestly is an act of the imaginatio [...]

    11. The topic -- group dance, ecstatic joy experienced in groups, and trance states -- seems under explored and appreciated. I expect and hope that Dancing in the Street will be more interesting than the blockbuster, Nickel and Dimed.Notes while reading:A big challenge in this text will be exploring a topic that will trample on some of her audience's sensitivities without actually trampling on too many of her audience's sensitivities.So far as I can tell, the ways that this phenomenon maybe does sur [...]

    12. I chose not to finish this book; being a fan of both joy and dance, this made me sad. As an investigative reporter, Ehrenreich might be quite skilled. But I am not impressed with her grasp of religious history nor her style of psychological conjecture to support her points. There are better sources than this book for cultural theories. If I'm going to spend time on the history of an event, I want more hard facts.

    13. This is not Barbara Ehrenreich's best writing - it lacks the elan of her first-person narrative style - but she really impressed me with her argument that humans need festival. It turns out my interests in dancing and community are closely related, which finally makes sense to me. Bottom line: more dance parties. Can't argue with that.

    14. Collective Joy! Lets get there, but not in a scary LSD way. Just go dance about with your neighbors.I wish the author focused more on the history of this in other areas of the world than northern europe.It is amazing, and a bit frightening to think about the boundarieswhere does collective joy become a riot? Interesting book

    15. I loved the discussion of the physical component of Spiritual expression. I have personally struggled to find opportunities to share this "collective effervescence" that are not frustrated by weird dogma. Maybe that is why I have found so much satisfaction in singing in a choir and in practicing yoga. They are both physical/spiritual expressions w/o unnecessary conflicts of dogma.

    16. This was less about collective joy than the repression of collective joy, and heavily focused on the Christian tradition, although not exclusively so. An interesting book, and a good resource for a writing wanting to get ideas for a repressive government.

    17. I'm delighted to finally read a book that describes dancing and social exuberance in a positive light! While this book is not perfect (in its research, in its coverage and perception of non-western dance forms), it's the first and only of its kind.

    18. Barbara Ehrenreich is an engaging, enlightened and incisive critic of western culture, particularly in the company of writers on the New York Times Best Sellers List. Her best known book, Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America provided a significant swath of middle-class Americans with a personally experienced account of just how hard it is to get by on a variety of minimum wage jobs in this country, for example. When I read about Barbara's most recent book, "Dancing in the Streets," s [...]

    19. Very disappointed in this book. I have learned a lot about the value of music and dance on society from my wife, who has a degree in music and is a music teacher. I expected this book to be an extension of what she had taught me in passing: The role of group music and dance (or collective joy as Ehrenreich calls it) in other cultures, the benefits it has to society, and the history of music and dance in the US. But as I questioned my wife about conclusions of the book, on multiple occasions she [...]

    20. A lament for the disappearance of communal celebrations, this work is an analysis of the role that 'festivals' have played in uniting people, in creating community. The author believes it has been significant - indeed, believes it is one of the major reasons for human success. Believes that the ability to form groups larger than a nuclear family was essential for human survival - essential for gathering food, hunting, fending off predators. And believes that the means of binding together people, [...]

    21. Ehrenreich gives a rich history of collective dancing. She portrays it as the underdog to industrialization, exploitation, organized religion, social hierarchy and general inequality. I don’t fully buy into her romanticizing “primitive” cultures and demonizing modern Western civilization…but it does have a nugget of truth to it.“People must find, in their movement, the immediate joy of solidarity, if only because, in the face of overwhelming state and corporate power, solidarity in the [...]

    22. I was very disappointed in this book. Reading the title I expected description of different forms of collective joy in cultures all over the world. I grew more and more irritated when she stayed with Western culture, and when she mentioned cultures on other continents she quoted very archaic and usually negative sources. it felt almost racist to me.The writing style was boring and the content repetitive. I have read several other books by Barbara Ehrenreich, but this one in the worst.

    23. My only regret is not taking notes while reading this well-researched and well-articulated human history. I'd just go back and reread it, except that she has written so many other books that I now want to read. Thought provoking and engaging, it started out a little bit dry but picked up speed.

    24. I enjoyed this. A history about joy - that was not too serious, not too flippant. An interesting read.

    25. I enjoyed this. At time I got distracted - not particularly been a fan of mass sports, this is where I drifted off - but all in all a nice listen.

    26. Interesting and fascinating book about how communal festivals have been pushed aside since the middle ages the spreadsheet creating killjoys.

    27. This is a summary of the research on ecstatic celebration - particularly costuming, singing, dancing, and feasting. The chapters move more or less forward in time, beginning with what we know of ancient celebration, moving into the middle ages in Europe and their carnivals and festivals, then the customary celebrations of tribes and cultures all over the world that the newly puritanical Europeans worked to squash during colonization. The book ends with the rock concerts and hippies of the 1960s [...]

    28. ON COLLECTIVE ECSTACY Starting back at the dawn of time and bringing the reader up to the present, Barbara Ehrenreich charts the history of collective joy in her recently published book "Dancing in the Streets". The book itself isn't one that's easy to pigeon-hole, in part a work of synthesis, it brings into close focus those fragments of information we have from the past that relate to her subject matter. It also reflects, and speculates on, the expressions of collective joy and ecstatic ritual [...]

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