Celebration in the service of togetherness
Department of Sociology University of Turku Turku, Finland
While celebration, indubitably, can be expected to bring gratification to its voluntary participants, sociology's point of view can, perhaps, best be taken by posing the question whether celebration serves a vital function of the society or whether it indicates the presence of a social mechanism. In the Durkheimian legacy complex social systems do not allow explicit representations of themselves. Instead, social cohesion is maintained emotionally. Stability and continuity is brought about by attaching emotions to material artefacts such as totems, or, in the case of the modern society, science and technology. Shared structures of feeling make togetherness and the presence of community felt. Not only material artefacts but exemplary human beings, performances, and rituals as well may serve as mediators on which feelings can be attached in a shared way. In this regard, acts of celebration can be understood as an attempt to preserve the feelings of togetherness, which is also the main point of the paper.
The point will be exposed empirically by examples from observation data on various contexts of celebration in different fields of sociality.