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We Are What We Celebrate: Understanding Holidays and Rituals

We Are What We Celebrate: Understanding Holidays and Rituals

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  • Amitai Etzioni
  • New York University Press
  • Paperback
  • 9780814722275
  • 8.94 X 6.02 X 0.7 inches
  • 0.8 pounds
  • Social Science > Anthropology - Cultural & Social
  • English
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Book Description

How did Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday become a national holiday? Why do we exchange presents on Christmas and Chanukah? What do bunnies have to do with Easter? How did Earth Day become a global holiday? These questions and more are answered in this fascinating exploration into the history and meaning of holidays and rituals. Edited by Amitai Etzioni, one of the most influential social and political thinkers of our time, this collection provides a compelling overview of the impact that holidays and rituals have on our family and communal life.
From community solidarity to ethnic relations to religious traditions, We Are What We Celebrate argues that holidays such as Halloween, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, New Year's Eve, and Valentine's Day play an important role in reinforcing, and sometimes redefining, our values as a society. The collection brings together classic and original essays that, for the first time, offer a comprehensive overview and analysis of the important role such celebrations play in maintaining a moral order as well as in cementing family bonds, building community relations and creating national identity. The essays cover such topics as the creation of Thanksgiving as a national holiday; the importance of holidays for children; the mainstreaming of Kwanzaa; and the controversy over Columbus Day celebrations.
Compelling and often surprising, this look at holidays and rituals brings new meaning to not just the ways we celebrate but to what those celebrations tell us about ourselves and our communities.
Contributors: Theodore Caplow, Gary Cross, Matthew Dennis, Amitai Etzioni, John R. Gillis, Ellen M. Litwicki, Diana Muir, Francesca Polletta, Elizabeth H. Pleck, David E. Proctor, Mary F. Whiteside, and Anna Day Wilde.

We Are What We Celebrate: Understanding Holidays and Rituals

Author Bio

After receiving his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley in 1958, Dr. Amitai Etzioni served as a Professor of Sociology at Columbia University for 20 years; part of that time as the Chairman of the department. He was a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution in 1978 before serving as a Senior Advisor to the White House from 1979-1980. 

In 1980, Dr. Etzioni was named the first University Professor at The George Washington University, where he is the Director of the Institute for Communitarian Policy Studies. From 1987-1989, he served as the Thomas Henry Carroll Ford Foundation Professor at the Harvard Business School.

Dr. Etzioni served as the president of the American Sociological Association in 1994-95, and in 1989-90 was the founding president of the International Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics. In 1990, he founded the Communitarian Network, a not-for-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to shoring up the moral, social and political foundations of society. 

He was the editor of The Responsive Community: Rights and Responsibilities, the organization's quarterly journal, from 1991-2004. In 1991, the press began referring to Dr. Etzioni as the "guru" of the communitarian movement. 

Dr. Etzioni is the author of twenty-four books, including The Monochrome Society (Princeton University Press, 2001); The Limits of Privacy (Basic Books, 1999);The New Golden Rule (Basic Books, 1996), which received the Simon Wiesenthal Center's 1997 Tolerance Book Award; The Spirit of Community (Crown Books, 1993); and The Moral Dimension: Toward a New Economics (Free Press, 1988). 

His most recent books are My Brother's Keeper: A Memoir and a Message (Rowman & Littlefield, 2003); From Empire to Community: A New Approach to International Relations (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004); and How Patriotic is the Patriot Act? (Routledge, 2004).

Outside of academia, Dr. Etzioni's voice is frequently heard in the media.

In 2001, he was named among the top 100 American intellectuals as measured by academic citations in Richard Posner's book, Public Intellectuals: A Study of Decline.

Also in 2001, Dr. Etzioni was awarded the John P. McGovern Award in Behavioral Sciences, as well as the Officer's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. He was also the recipient of the Seventh James Wilbur Award for Extraordinary Contributions to the Appreciation and Advancement of Human Values by the Conference on Value Inquiry, as well as the Sociological Practice Association's Outstanding Contribution Award.

 

Source: The George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs 

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