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Does acclamation equal agreement? Rethinking collective effervescence through the case of the presidential "tour de France" during the twentieth century

Nicolas Mariot
Theory and Society
Vol. 40, No. 2 (March 2011), pp. 191-221
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41475690
Page Count: 31
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Does acclamation equal agreement? Rethinking collective effervescence through the case of the presidential "tour de France" during the twentieth century
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Abstract

This article discusses the integrative function frequently assigned to festive events by scholars. This function can be summed up in a proposition: experiencing similar emotions during collective gatherings is a powerful element of socialization. The article rejects this oft-developed idea according to which popular fervor could be an efficient tool to measure civic engagement. It raises the following question: what makes enthusiasm "civic", "patriotic", "republican" or simply "political"? Based on a study of French presidential tours in France from 1888 to 2007, this article casts a different light on the topic. The enthusiasm of the crowds interacting with the successive French presidents is not civic because an inquiry may find "patriotism" into participants' minds. It can be called civic simply because the forms and meaning of the festive jubilation, which may be summarized into the formula: "if spectators applaud, it means they support," necessarily preexist its multiple manifestations.

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