Dancing in the Streets

A History of Collective Joy

Recommended by Jonathan Haidt, and 1 others. See all reviews

Ranked #86 in Holidays

From the bestselling social commentator and cultural historian comes Barbara Ehrenreich's fascinating exploration of one of humanity's oldest traditions: the celebration of communal joy

In the acclaimed Blood Rites, Barbara Ehrenreich delved into the origins of our species' attraction to war. Here, she explores the opposite impulse, one that has been so effectively suppressed that we lack even a term for it: the desire for collective joy, historically expressed in ecstatic revels of feasting, costuming, and dancing.

Ehrenreich uncovers the origins of...

Reviews and Recommendations

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Jonathan Haidt This is one of the most original and interesting books I’ve read in the last five years. Barbara Ehrenreich had written a book on war and got intrigued by the rituals and the group cohesion that results from war. So she wrote her next book on this human capacity and even need for group cohesion. What she found is that just about every society, at the time of Western contact, had some way of altering their bodies, and dancing around a fire or totemic object to some sort of rhythmic beat, music or a drum. Almost every traditional society had ways of using motion and music to bind themselves... (Source)

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