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War and National Renewal: Civil Religion and Blood Sacrifice in American Culture
European Journal of American Studies
Wars are often associated with a rhetoric of renewal or new beginnings. This essay explores this claim through the lens of civil religion and a recent book by Carolyn Marvin and David Ingle, Blood Sacrifice and the Nation, which combines Emile Durkheim with Réné Girard in proposing that modern national cohesion depends on blood sacrifice. I unpack some of the paradoxes raised by this theory of national renewal in the context of 9/11, with a special focus on the sacred status of the flag and the special attention given to uniformed serviceman in the American body politic.
United States, patriotism, Abraham Lincoln, Civil War, Gettysburg Address, nationalism, 9/11, civil religion, death, flag, freedom, Iwo Jima, military, ritual, self-sacrifice, war
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