Grief, Behaviour, Criticism

In the aftermath of the cataclysmic massacre in Christchurch, several reports have called attention to groups of people performing a haka to express sorrow, solidarity, frustration, and various other powerful affects. This raises a variety of noteworthy topics for reflection (cultural appropriation and exoticising/affect tourism, for starters), but this morning I’m moved to raise the question of the ways a haka appears in British (and American?) journalism to the ways other expressions of ritualised affect might be reported. A procession and requiem Mass, for instance, is a marginal phenomenon in neoliberal, post-Christendom England — not unheard of, not exotic, but nonetheless something most of the audience would perceive to be done by a them rather than an us. What other social constructions of ritualised affect (public wailing) might appear in such contexts, and how are these reported and received? What sorts of derision, appreciation, curiosity, dismissal emerge from which social constituencies?

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