August 26, 2013

Rousseau's Republican Ritual

Eoin Daly, University College, Dublin, has published Ritual and Symbolic Power in Rousseau’s Constitutional Thought as UCD Working Papers in Law, Criminology & Socio-Legal Studies Research Paper No. 07/2013. Here is the abstract.

Rousseau places strong emphasis on public ceremony, festival and pageantry as integral aspects of statecraft. The obvious purpose of republican rituals is to promote the civic virtues which facilitate a politics of the common good. Therefore, it has been argued that Rousseau’s ritualistic constitutionalism has echoes in the mild ritualism of contemporary liberal states. I argue, however, that Rousseau envisages a much broader purpose for republican ritual: not merely to supplement, but to substitute the complex symbolic rituals of liberal society and thus to supplant the need for private sources of aesthetic and symbolic distinction. 
Download the full text from of the paper from SSRN at the link.

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