Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Escapism & Distraction As a Social Control During the Roman Empire

It is important to distinguish between the two; distraction refers to anything that can take the attention of the populace away from the inadequacies of the government where as escapism refers to specifically removing the minds of the individuals from the situation that they are in, in order to escape anything that brings discontent to their lives.

Distraction was a tool that could be used by Emperors both to divert attention from current objectionable events. Impending risk of warfare increased anxiety within Roman society, the development of gladiatorial spectacle could both demonstrate the continuing competence of the governing body of Rome, even during a crisis (Futrell 2006). Not only could the gladiatorial spectacle distract the citizens from contemporary issues but it could also “erase public memories of political blunders” in the past (Shelton 1998, p333).

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