The basis of shame is not some personal mistake of ours, but the ignominy, the humiliation we feel that we must be what we are without any choice in the matter, and that this humiliation is seen by everyone.
— Milan Kundera
The Mocking Serenade
Charivari and the Politics of Humiliation
by Rod Dubey
Cultural Theory 9781895166323 $10.95 83 pages
An engaging, illustrated book looking at the centuries old custom of charivari (the mock serenade using pots and pans, meant to shame someone) from the traditional British skimmington to contemporary versions in such places as Buenos Aires, Montréal, and New York City (where they were a feature of the Occupy Movement). In the past, as now, charivaris go beyond partisan politics to unite communities in protecting themselves and expressing outrage against economic and political power. As a form of community street theatre, charivari also has linkages with such things as modern happenings, efforts to resist control of the commons of cyberspace, other forms of satire and protest, and critiques about the integration of art and politics. This book should have appeal to those interested in political theory, cultural theory, and history. It delves into contemporary issues such as the Occupy Movement, the debt crisis, surveillance and cybernetics.
Rod Dubey’s recent writing includes essays on monopoly capitalism and Alain Badiou, for The Montreal Review, and a review of Sex and Punishment, for Fifth Estate. He has two books with Charivari Press: Indecent Acts in a Public Place: Sports, Insolence and Sedition, and ...beautiful in my worn clothes...The Transgressions of Love.
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