Emotion, ritual and power: from family to nation

Merridee L. Bailey, Katie Barclay

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The relationship between ritual and the creation, maintenance and destabilisation of power has not gone unexplored by historians, art historians and anthropologists, given the centrality of ritual to religious practice and to institutional structures both across time and throughout the world. Yet the place emotion holds in the relationship between ritual and power—indeed, that emotion should be one of the analytical tools historians turn to in order to understand power dynamics—has received less systematic attention. It is only recently that the emotions, rather than the ritual, have moved to the centre of the academic debate. This shift in focus has in part been motivated by Renato Rosaldo’s observation that some rituals are formed to manage emotions (such as grief) as much as rituals are designed to create emotion in the participants. It has also been influenced by a swathe of new methodologies and theoretical approaches emerging from across the humanities and social sciences that have rejuvenated investigations into what emotions are and how they work in organising, mediating and constructing social, cultural and institutional relationships.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEmotion, ritual and power in Europe, 1200-1920
Subtitle of host publicationfamily, church and state
EditorsMerridee L. Bailey, Katie Barclay
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9783319441856
ISBN (Print)9783319441849
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NamePalgrave Studies in the History of Emotions
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan


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