Blood Sacrifice and the Nation: Totem Rituals and the American Flag

Blood Sacrifice and the Nation: Totem Rituals and the American Flag

by Carolyn Marvin, David W. Ingle
     
 

ISBN-10: 0521623456

ISBN-13: 9780521623452

Pub. Date: 02/28/1999

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

This book argues that American patriotism is a civil religion of blood sacrifice, which periodically kills its children to keep the group together. The flag is the sacred object of this religion; its sacrificial imperative is a secret which the group keeps from itself to survive. Expanding Durkheim's theory of the totem taboo as the organizing principle of enduring…  See more details below

Overview

This book argues that American patriotism is a civil religion of blood sacrifice, which periodically kills its children to keep the group together. The flag is the sacred object of this religion; its sacrificial imperative is a secret which the group keeps from itself to survive. Expanding Durkheim's theory of the totem taboo as the organizing principle of enduring groups, Carolyn Marvin and David Ingle uncover the system of sacrifice and regeneration which constitutes American nationalism, show why historical instances of these rituals succeed or fail in unifying the nation, and explain how mass media are essential to the process.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780521623452
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
02/28/1999
Series:
Cambridge Cultural Social Studies Series
Pages:
414
Product dimensions:
5.98(w) x 8.98(h) x 1.18(d)

Table of Contents

Illustrations
List of graphs
Acknowledgments
1Introduction1
2That old flag magic9
3Theorizing the flagbody41
4The totem myth63
5Death touchers and border crossers98
6Strategic tinkering: totem memory and succession129
7Refreshing the borders172
8Dismemberment and reconstruction215
9Fresh blood, public meat248
10One size fits all292
11Epilogue312
App. 1The flag in life: Representational politics of the Stars and Stripes317
App. 2Representative coding categories335
Notes337
Selected bibliography383
Index390

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