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By James M. Wilce

Development on ethnographic fieldwork and broad ancient proof, Crying disgrace analyzes lament throughout hundreds of thousands of years and approximately each continent.Explores the iconic energy of lament: expressing grief via crying songs, usually in a collective ritual contextDraws at the author’s wide ethnographic fieldwork, and certain long term engagement and participation within the phenomenonOffers a startling new viewpoint at the nature of modernity and postmodernityAn very important addition to starting to be literature on cultural globalization

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Additional resources for Crying Shame: Metaculture, Modernity, and the Exaggerated Death of Lament

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Applying the SPEAKING mnemonic to scores of ethnographically informed accounts of lamentation in scores of societies reveals their diversity and commonalities. Such a systematic approach clarifies the phenomena at hand. qxd 18/08/2008 10:40 AM Page 32 32 Locating Lament as Object eight dimensions indexed by SPEAKING. Moreover, there is a metacultural politics to representations of lament that the mnemonic can obscure. The degree to which people consider any sort of lament a genre might depend on our sense of their predictability, their textuality – and such judgments are metadiscursive, and metacultural.

Adapted from Nenola 2002:225, lament #1717)5 The three interior lines (labeled b1–b3) manifest grammatical parallelism. I’ve modified Nenola’s translation to show that they all end with (transitive) verbs. And those three are encompassed by two outer lines exemplifying the metaphorical forms of address typifying Ingrian laments. Parallelism and other structural features achieve entextualization, coherence, memorability. They organize what is otherwise a highly contextualized production into something potentially decontextualizable.

The fact that laments immediately preceded rejoicing indicates that apparently contradictory keys of grief and joy can coexist in laments. In fact the emotional key to a given lament may be neither grief nor joy but anger or outrage. This has important implications. Those who construe laments as a therapeutic modality efface their political edge, their function as “rhetorics of grievance” (McLaren 2000a). We err in uncritically applying such Western notions as catharsis (Gamliel 2007:1507) to lamenters whose cultural models of emotion, personhood, and communication are quite unlike Aristotle’s.

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