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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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.

There is an argument that people experience depression because they have been robbed of this sort of joy.

Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy

All in all, the history is not very comprehensive and often unconvincing. The barrage of high energy nationalism whipped them up.

Capitalism and its handmaiden, Puritanism, were on the rise. I’d just go back and reread it, except that she has written so many other books that I ehrenrelch want to read.

Nov 02, Holli Arnold rated it liked it. Apr 20, Mark rated it it was amazing. Hardly any of these examples, and there are many, are unique. When I read about Barbara’s most recent book, “Dancing in the Streets,” s 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.

An interesting book, and a good resource for a writing wanting to get ideas for a repressive government.

Dancing in the Streets – Wikipedia

This habit persisted until around the 13th and 14th centuries; it was finally stamped out, in the west, by the 17th. I do know this; the gods of ecstasy were there, dancing with us, moving with and through one person to another. Following their defeat in stteets, Germans were down and out.

Instead, they had profound reverence and respect for their forest, which was not invisible, and gave them everything they needed. The writing style was boring and the content repetitive. What’s kind of accidentally? 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 spaces.


Ehrenreich uncovers the origins of communal celebration in human biology and culture.

Dancing in the Streets by Barbara Ehrenreich | Quarterly Conversation

If I’m going to spend time on the history of an event, I want more hard facts. While Ehrenreich’s book didn’t fill that hole, it at least explained why I feel it.

The topic — group dance, ecstatic joy experienced in groups, and trance states — seems under explored and appreciated. Her best known book, Nickel and Dimed: We spent hours Saturday night on a platform stage looking down on “The Village” area – rocking steady and strong with a stable coterie of a dozen dancers from all thr the West Coast, showing the crowd how it works, emerging from the forest at dawn to join thousands of others on the beach tge a sunrise performance by Bassnectar, one ghe the true stars of underground electronica.

As Barbara says, “Why not? This is a loaded question, but suppositions aside, the history of group festivities makes for fascinating reading.

Just go dance about with your neighbors.

As an investigative reporter, Ehrenreich might be quite skilled. And then — Sieg Heil! The joy of the rhythmic activity would have helped overcome the fear of confronting predators and other threats, just as marching music has pumped up soldiers in historical times. There were synchronized crowd movements, chants, dancing, feasting, and singing. Mindfulness, respect, and love for Mother Earth and each other were invoked.

May 29, Daeryl Holzer rated it it was amazing. Origin and History of the Passions of Warwhich looked at the human propensity to communally engage in war. Wonderful music on six stages, going all night Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I remember losing all sense of time, thoroughly engaged in the pleasure of moving. So anyone who wants to point to some sort of conflict or divide in these religious structures will find a streetz of unity, at least in the early forms of Christianity.

I love the way Barbara Ehrenreich delved into our much needed stredts for group acceptance and bonding. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.

The elites’ fear that such gatherings would undermine social hierarchies was justified: And the author believes that this, or the pre-disposition to this type of activity, is programmed into human genes – like other advantages essential to evolutionary survival, it was encoded into human genes to guarantee the creation of durable human groups.


Refresh and try again. So far as I can tell, the ways that this phenomenon maybe does survive in the West do not seem to be mentioned here, including raves, some forms of group fitness, and pentecostalism.

Dance with the devil

Inbetween there’s many other instances where the author is just plain worng. The social history and raw factual information were well researched and thoroughly interesting; the attempt at drawing a conclusion was unnecessary and alienating. This was less about collective joy than the repression of collective joy, and heavily focused on the Christian tradition, although not exclusively so. Melancholy, or more baldly, depression, Ehrenreich notes, grew fourfold, at least partly as the result of the abandonment of collective festivities with their “mind-preserving, life-saving techniques of ecstasy”.

But being orderly spectators was far less interesting than enthusiastically participating in singing, dancing, and merrymaking. For the song, see Dancing in the Street. 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.

Ehrenreich makes a distinction between ecstatic ritual and spectacle. Jan 26, Robert rated it liked it. The mountains all round are lighted up, and it is an elevating spectacle, scarcely paralleled by anything else, to survey the country for many miles round from one of the higher points, and in every direction at once to see a vast number of these bonfires, brighter or fainter, blazing up to heaven.

Retrieved from ” https: 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. The author describes Western Society as particularly lacking in such events and describes current ehrenrecih recent examples of Collective Joy events.