Blood Sacrifice and the Nation: Totem Rituals and the American Flag

Sampul Depan
This compelling book argues that American patriotism is a civil religion of blood sacrifice, which periodically kills its children to keep the group together. The flag is the sacred object of this religion; its sacrificial imperative is a secret which the group keeps from itself to survive. Expanding Durkheim's theory of the totem taboo as the organizing principle of enduring groups, Carolyn Marvin uncovers the system of sacrifice and regeneration which constitutes American nationalism, shows why historical instances of these rituals succeed or fail in unifying the group, and explains how mass media are essential to the process. American culture is depicted as ritually structured by a fertile center and sacrificial borders of death. Violence plays a key part in its identity. In essence, nationalism is neither quaint historical residue nor atavistic extremism, but a living tradition which defines American life.
 

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Introduction
1
That old flag magic
9
Theorizing the flagbody
41
The totem myth
63
Death touchers and border crossers
98
totem memory and succession
129
Refreshing the borders
172
Dismemberment and reconstruction
215
Fresh blood public meat
248
One size fits all
292
Epilogue
312
Representational politics of
317
Representative coding categories
335
Selected bibliography
383
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