material bodily principle

Reading Bakhtin on carnival. I can’t decide if it is politically useful or not. What he calls “the material bodily principle” in the form of the grotesque seems so full of subversive possibility, but it is also about renewing and reviving. Holiday from the status quo, a moment to release all that one has repressed in order to return to the world of hierarchy and officialdom when carnival is over. But so appealing in its gooeyness…

What of Stampede? Community building, yes, but also full of racial violence and exclusion. Who said the contents of the repressed were nice?

1 Comment

  1. ryan on September 20, 2005 at 8:03 am

    I’ve always thought it interesting to contrast “carnival” to the ideas of “consensus building” that we get in a more radical participatory democracy, and “catallaxy” which is the mode of democratic thinking that openly mimics economic thinking, especially the thinking around the market. Don’t know if that helps. I wrote a paper on it with regards to pedagogy if you’d like to read it.

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