Rites of Power: Symbolism, Ritual, and Politics since the Middle Ages

Overview

Rites of Power
Symbolism, Ritual, and Politics since the Middle Ages
Edited by Sean Wilentz

"This volume encompasses a rich world of political culture, from the Spanish kings of the Reconquest to German metal-workers in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. . . . A welcome contribution to the interdisciplinary study of ritual, symbolism, and power."--Journal of ...

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Overview

Rites of Power
Symbolism, Ritual, and Politics since the Middle Ages
Edited by Sean Wilentz

"This volume encompasses a rich world of political culture, from the Spanish kings of the Reconquest to German metal-workers in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. . . . A welcome contribution to the interdisciplinary study of ritual, symbolism, and power."--Journal of Ritual Studies

Rites of Power provides a sweeping overview of the symbolism of power from tenth-century France to modern Britain. Approaching their topic from an eclectic range of intellectual traditions, the authors turn the study of politics, social relations, and cultural creation into a single endeavor.

The essays begin with three assumptions: that all societies are ordered and governed by "master fictions" (divine right, equality for all) which make political hierarchy appear natural; that political rhetoric includes nonverbal communication (royal portraits, statistics on crop yields); and that common rhetoric can mean different things to various segments of a culture ("states' rights" during the American Civil War).

Societies studied include France and Spain in the Middle Ages, post-Revolutionary France, the modern British monarchy, tsarist Russia, colonial Virginia, and industrial Germany. The essays were selected to provide methodological as well as historical coverage; the result is a comprehensive treatment along the cutting edge of several disciplines. This book will appeal to scholars and students in the fields of history, political science, sociology, anthropology, and art history.

Sean Wilentz is Director of the Program in American Studies, and Professor of History, at Princeton University. He is coauthor, with Paul E. Johnson, of The Kingdom of Matthias: A Story of Sex and Salvation in Nineteenth-Century America and, with Michael Merrill, of The Key of Liberty: The Life and Democratic Writings of William Manning, "A Laborer," 1747-1814.

1985 | 360 pages | 6 x 9 | 30 illus.
ISBN 978-0-8122-1695-0 | Paper | $24.95s | £16.50
World Rights | History, Cultural Studies

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This volume encompasses a rich world of political culture, from the Spanish kings of the Reconquest to German metal-workers in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. . . . A welcome contribution to the interdisciplinary study of ritual, symbolism, and power."—Journal of Ritual Studies
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812216950
  • Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/28/1999
  • Pages: 360
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Sean Wilentz is Director of the Program in American Studies, and Professor of History, at Princeton University. He is coauthor, with Paul E. Johnson, of The Kingdom of Matthias: A Story of Sex and Salvation in Nineteenth-Century America and, with Michael Merrill, of The Key of Liberty: The Life and Democratic Writings of William Manning, "A Laborer," 1747-1814.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: Teufelsdrockh's Dilemma: On Symbolism, Politics, and History
—Sean Wilentz

PT. 1. AN ANTHROPOLOGICAL OVERVIEW
1. Centers, Kings, and Charisma: Reflections on the Symbolics of Power
—Clifford Geertz

PT. 2. RITUAL, KINGSHIP, AND POLITICS IN FRANCE, C. 900-1715
2. Models of Rulership in French Royal Ceremonial
—Ralph E. Giesey
3. Legend, Ritual, and Discourse in the Lit de Justice Assembly: French Constitutional Ideology, 1527-1641
—Sarah Hanley

PT. 3. THE LIMITS OF SYMBOLIC POWER: SPAIN, C. 1157-1643
4. Unsacred Monarchy: The Kings of Castile in the Late Middle Ages
—Teofilo F. Ruiz
5. Power and Propaganda in the Spain of Philip IV
—J. H. Elliott

PT. 4. RITES OF POWER SINCE THE AGE OF REVOLUTION: FRANCE, BRITAIN, AND RUSSIA
6. Politics, Images, and Symbols in Post-Revolutionary France
—Maurice Agulhon
7. Splendor out of Court: Royal Spectacle and Pageantry in Modern Britain, c. 1820-1977
—David Cannadine
8. Moscow and Petersburg: The Problem of Political Center in Tsarist Russia, 1881-1914
—Richard Wortman

PT. 5. SYMBOLISM, POLITICS, AND EVERYDAY LIFE: COLONIAL VIRGINIA AND INDUSTRIAL GERMANY
9. Communication and Control: Authority Metaphors and Power Contests on Colonel Landon Carter's Virginia Plantation, 1752-1778
—Rhys Isaac
10. Organizational Order or Eigensinn? Workers' Privacy and Workers' Politics in Imperial Germany
—Alf Lüdtke

Contributors
Index

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