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Ravven on Voting as “Science and Ceremony”


Heidi Ravven
Heidi Ravven

Professor of Religious Studies Heidi Ravven recently discussed “Science and Ceremony” in an invited lecture at the European Society for Medicine Annual Congress in Vienna. Her presentation was made via a pre-recorded video and was part of a virtual session on Neurology and Neuroscience.

The talk was based on “research that exposes the affective and socially integrating features of political ritual and also recalls Spinoza's stirring appeal, at the dawn of modernity, to take account of affect and especially group affect, as well as to principles of justice, in envisioning the modern liberal polity.”

Ravven’s discussion focused on voting as a symbolic and ceremonial ritual, and also as a real and legal process to effect change. “In coming together at a moment for a common purpose and to set a common future, the national community acts out the consent of the governed, integrating affectively all as citizens into that common consent,” she said.

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