PROTESTING INVERSIONS : Charivary as Folk Pageantry and Folk-Law

Pettitt, Tom
July 1999
Medieval English Theatre;1999, Vol. 21, p21
Academic Journal
The article presents the author's insights on the use of charivary as folk law and pageantry to protest inversions and subversions of social norms. He says that charivary is a custom which shows the disapproval of its performers to attitudes of particular community members, in which it has elements of social norm inversions and reversals, festive in nature, and is also used to protest against second marriages. He argues that it is a social inversion used to protest against social inversions which are believed to have already occurred and has been used as ideological and functional reaction to express and reimpose conservative and patriarchal ideals of marital and sexual relationships. Furthermore, charivary is an occasional and sporadic occurrence, not a regular calendar festival.


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