collective effervescence love

collective effervescence


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  • "What we lack is any way of describing and understanding the 'love' that may exist among dozens of people at a time; and it is this kind of love that is expressed in ecstatic ritual. Durkheim's notion of collective effervescence and Turner's idea of communitas each reach, in their own ways, toward some conception of love that serves to knit people together in groups larger than two. But if homosecual attraction is the love 'that dares not speak its name,' the love that binds people to the collective has no name at all to speak. Communitas and collective effervescence describe moments of communal excitedment; there is no word for the love—or force or need—that leads individuals to seek ecstatic merger with the group."

    —Barbara Ehrenreich, Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2006), 14

    March 12, 2009

  • Ooh, I like this phrase. And I was just reading an article by Ehrenreich in the February 2009 Smithsonian about her trip to Trinidad for Carnival.

    One of my favorite authors, too. :-)

    March 12, 2009