Georgi, Liana and Monica Sassatelli. 2011. “Introduction.” In Festivals and the Cultural Public Sphere, edited by Liana Georgi, Monica Sassatelli, and Gerard Delanty. New York: Routledge. Pp. 1-11.
Festivals as a site of collective effervescence (Durkheim 1912) – as a way to express and consolidate community and sense of solidarity. (Arts) festivals are not just a manifestation of aesthetic culture, but as a means to explore communication, identity, and political action/social change. Festival boom in Europe attributed to migration, globalization of culture, cultural omnivorism, changes in how cultural resources are accessed and shared (kx^ through technology, etc.?) – festival-goers are “culture hungry” (Bennett 1999), and crave the opportunity to experience new and diverse ideas, tastes.
All culture, in a sense, is popular culture – if it weren’t it would not retain its significance (Griswold 1997). More so, public cultures – as all culture is public (based in shared meaning, reproduced in inter/action) – even subcultures; therefore, in this exchange, these can be appropriated, co-opted, and influenced from different actors, standpoints, agendas, etc. Shift (says Habermas 1962/1989) within the public sphere – from a culture-debating public (per the thinkers of French salons, etc.) to a culture-consuming public— influenced heavily by Adorno and Horkheimer’s concept of the culture industry. The cultural public sphere of today is “the articulation of politics, public and personal, as a contested terrain through affective (aesthetic and emotional) modes of communication” (McGuigan 2004, 435 here 4). Festivals (and post-traditional festivals) offer a site for investigating the relationship between the political and the affective.
Traditional festivals as way to celebrate the past, as ritual – however, nowadays, the celebration of merging of new rituals, ideological exchange, integration
Bennett, N. 1999. Speaking Volumes: A History of the Cheltenham Festival of Literature. Cheltenham: Sutton Publishing.
Durkheim, E. 1995 . The Elementary Forms of Religious Life. Glencoe: Free Press.
Griswold, W. 1997. Cultures and Societies in a Changing World. London: Sage.
Habermas, J. 1989 . Strukturwandel der :Offenlichkeit; Untersuchungen zu einer Kategorie der b:urgerlichen Gesellschaft. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.
McGuigan, J. 2004. Rethinking Cultural Policy. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.