Fresh Blood, Public Meat: Ritual of Totem Regeneration in the 1992 Presidential Race
Social and Behavioral Sciences
An election campaign serves ritual functions for the American political system, beyond its manifest functions of determining which persons and interests will govern the country. The campaign ritual is analyzed in terms of Durkheim’s concept of the totem, including its regeneration and sacrifice. The dirty campaign is a sacrificial feast that establishes conditions for a proper mating between the candidate and the electorate. Voters declare their fidelity to the totem victor and receive a sacrificial promise in return.