Charivari and Social Stratification: Carnivalesque Responses to Modernity in Ireland

Fionnán Mac Gabhann (Indiana University)

I am concerned in this paper with satirical and often violent responses to social change as they manifested in nineteenth and twentieth century Shrovetide observances in Ireland. In the southern Irish province of Munster, various members of society, particularly the unmarried, were customarily debased in satirical mocking rhymes and through physical “abduction.” I contend that these customs bear witness to severe rupture in society, to social conflict, and especially to processes of social stratification characteristic of modernity.

Part of 64-04 Folklore and Social Change, Saturday, October 23, 2:00 pm–3:30 pm