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.
Introduction: Teufelsdrockh's Dilemma: On Symbolism, Politics, and History
PT. 1. AN ANTHROPOLOGICAL OVERVIEW
1. Centers, Kings, and Charisma: Reflections on the Symbolics of Power
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
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
7. Splendor out of Court: Royal Spectacle and Pageantry in Modern Britain, c. 1820-1977
8. Moscow and Petersburg: The Problem of Political Center in Tsarist Russia, 1881-1914
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
10. Organizational Order or Eigensinn? Workers' Privacy and Workers' Politics in Imperial Germany
"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