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Rituals in Parliaments

Political, Anthropological and Historical Perspectives on Europe and the United States

Emma Crewe and Marion G. Müller

By bringing together three different academic disciplines – anthropology, political science and history – and covering a variety of different parliamentary assemblies, both in Europe and in the United States, this book aims to offer a fresh approach to parliamentary studies. The authors assess the importance of ritual and symbolic communication in different parliamentary settings. The underlying question that each practitioner and scholar addresses is: Do parliamentary rituals really matter? Some of the contributors argue that legislative procedure is more telling of the role and reputation that a parliament has in a given society than its rituals and ceremonies. Others stress the relevance of these ritual expressions for conveying political sense and meaning to the public.
Contents: Emma Crewe/Marion G. Müller: Introduction – Marc Abélès: Parliament, politics and ritual – László Kürti: Symbolism and drama within the ritualisation of the Hungarian parliament – Bernard Moreau: The political meanings of military rituals in the French National Assembly – Emma Crewe: Rituals and the Usual Channels in the British House of Lords – Richard Baker: Ritual and ceremony in the United States Senate – Alastair J. Mann: The Scottish Parliaments: the role of ritual and procession in the pre-1707 parliament and the new parliament of 1999 – Werner Patzelt: Parliaments and their Symbols. Topography of a field of research – Marion G. Müller: Parliaments and their Liturgies.