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Horses with riders trailed by foot processionals, silver bands and pipe bands, furling medieval banners, lavish costumes, and singers and actors-the `Common Riding' is an elaborate, little-studied ritual phenomenon of the border towns of Scotland. In this vividly written and insightful analysis, Gwen Kennedy Neville uses this civic ceremony as a window for glimpsing the process of ritual, symbol, and experience in the development of the concept of `the town' in Western culture. Based on extensive fieldwork in the town of Selkirk, The Mother Town looks at the Common Riding in detail, uncovering pre-Reformation symbolism and pageantry-often medieval and Catholic-in a region that has been Protestant for over four hundred years. Neville shows how the ceremony is a model of the way civic ritual serves to construct a system of towns which gives rise to the modern world. Further, she contends that these civic rituals create a ceremonial setting in which the contradictions between tradition and modernity can be temporarily resolved and where past and present live side by side.
|Publication date:||12th May 1994|
|Author:||Gwen Kennedy (Elizabeth Root Paden Professor of Sociology, Southwestern University) Neville|
|Publisher:||Oxford University Press Inc|
|Categories:||Anthropology, Sociology: customs & traditions,|
Gwen Kennedy Neville is Elizabeth Root Paden Professor of Sociology at Southwestern University.More About Gwen Kennedy (Elizabeth Root Paden Professor of Sociology, Southwestern University) Neville