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Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy by Barbara Ehrenreich
With Dancing in the Streets, Barbara Ehrenreich examines not the history of joy as a personal experience, but the history of communal celebrations of uninhibited ecstasy. She finds these expressions of communal joy common throughout history, stretching back from prehistoric days to ancient Greek Dionysus religious rites to present-day Carnival celebrations, athletic events, and rock concerts. Accompanied by these celebrations are civil or religious organizations eager to either dissuade their populace from participating in them or outlawing them completely. Yet each repression by these authorities usually leads to a rebellious group bringing them back in a new fashion. Dancing in the Streets has received mixed reviews with the Seattle Times saying, "Ehrenreich never browbeats her readers with her theories. Instead, she offers them in a spirit of truth-seeking curiosity — and also as the work of a driven cultural critic who feels the lack of festivity in her own life."