"Rites of Nation in Crosscultural Contexts: Exploring The Effect of National Rituals in Israel and the U.S."
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Yossi Harpaz, Visiting Scholar, Weatherhead Scholars Program. Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Tel-Aviv University.
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Panagiotis Roilos, Faculty Associate. George Seferis Professor of Modern Greek Studies, Department of the Classics; Professor of Comparative Literature, Department of Comparative Literature, Harvard University.
Dimitrios Yatromanolakis, Associate Professor, Department of Classics, Department of Anthropology, and the Humanities Center, The Johns Hopkins University.
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What is the role of ritual in national identity? Social scientists have long viewed collective ritual as a key to group cohesion, whether in simple societies or modern nation-states. National rituals in the U.S., for example, include the presentation and veneration of the flag as well as the pronouncement of loyalty oaths. To date, however, scholars have not directly examined the effects of such rituals on participants’ identity and belonging. The project I present aims to identify the effect of national rituals across cultural contexts. The presentation will focus on two rituals: (1) the loyalty oath that immigrants make when naturalizing in the United States; (2) the siren that is sounded across Israel during its Remembrance Day for Fallen Soldiers, which marks a solemn moment of silence. Both projects use a quasi-experimental survey design to measure the effects of ritual on participants’ national identity and their solidarity towards co-nationals.