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Funerals, Politics, and Memory in Modern France, 1789–1996$
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Avner Ben-Amos

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198203285

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198203285.001.0001

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Transition: The Procession and the City

Transition: The Procession and the City

Chapter:
(p.304) 11 Transition: The Procession and the City
Source:
Funerals, Politics, and Memory in Modern France, 1789–1996
Author(s):

Avner Ben-Amos

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198203285.003.0013

Rituals that have transformative power in modern society are rituals of presentation, which operate upon the social order by their sheer magnitude. However, they are capable of achieving the required scale only with the help of bureaucracy, which can mobilize the necessary resources and manipulate categories of time and space with relatively little effort. The state funerals of the Third Republic were such rites of presentation whose power resided in their rich and varied display. In this respect, they resembled the other civic festivals of the Third Republic, which were also ceremonies whose effects depended upon their magnificence. As a personal rite of passage, the state funeral was both a ritual of presentation and transformation, amplified through the workings of state bureaucracy. Transformation occurred during the middle, transitional phase, which included the procession from the place of lying-in-state to the place of burial. The state funeral took place not only in sacred time, but also in sacred space. The crowd, amassed along the route of the procession, were participants and spectators.

Keywords:   Third Republic, state funerals, procession, ritual of presentation, rite of passage, transformation, lying-in-state, burial, spectators

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