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The New Cultural History$
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Lynn Hunt

Print publication date: 1989

Print ISBN-13: 9780520064287

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520064287.001.0001

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The American Parade: Representations of the Nineteenth-Century Social Order

The American Parade: Representations of the Nineteenth-Century Social Order

Chapter:
(p.131) Five The American Parade: Representations of the Nineteenth-Century Social Order
Source:
The New Cultural History
Author(s):

Lynn Hunt

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520064287.003.0006

This chapter shows how critical a historical understanding of ritual can be by demonstrating how parading changed in function over time. It also discusses the role of gender in these constructions of civic identity. It then reveals that gender was one of the most critical lines of differentiation in culture and society. The parade constitutes the public, ceremonial language whereby nineteenth-century Americans made order out of an urban universe that teemed with diversity and change. The American parades of 1825 to 1880 document the development of such concepts as class, ethnicity, and gender, all in forms that were legible to contemporaries. The parade was an exercise in self-discipline as well as social discipline. Parades continue to this day, providing a ceremonial method of forging and asserting the diverse social identities that compose American culture.

Keywords:   American parades, civic identity, gender, American culture, social identities, class, ethnicity

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