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An Academic View on the Right to Party

Author Barbara Ehrenreich argues the time has come to give collective joy its due.
Author Barbara Ehrenreich argues the time has come to give collective joy its due.

From ancient Greek Bacchanalias and Roman Saturnalias to tailgating and Mardi Gras, we humans like to party. Throughout history, public revelry has had its critics. The Victorian world saw it as vulgar pageantry, the stuff of "savages" and the underclass. The academic world, for the most part, ignored it.

Author and activist Barbara Ehrenreich talks about her new book Dancing in the Streets, in which she gives a history lesson on collective joy and explains why humanity engages in large, ceremonial celebrations and why the upper classes have tried — and often still try — to suppress it.

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