Carnival is a yearly celebration that provides a space for participants to have fun and experience good cheer in a state of exuberance. Its songs, costumes, dances, and rituals promote an ecstatic and out-of-the-ordinary atmosphere permitting experimental and unrestrained behavior. But the exuberance is also accompanied by sentimentality and melancholia, born from the awareness of both the limited duration of the celebration and the transience of existence. My talk draws on ethnographic investigations of the Rhenish Carnival to explore its ecstatic character, with a particular emphasis on the emotional significance of collective states of exception.
Yvonne Niekrenz is a teaching assistant and researcher in sociological theory at the University of Rostock. Her dissertation, Rauschhafte Vergemeinschaftungen. Eine Studie zum rheinischen Straßenkarneval, which she completed in 2010, studied the social importance of the Rhenish Carnival.