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Presentation on theme: "By. Wayne K. D. Davies, Geography, University of Calgary, Canada. FESTVITIES AS URBAN TRANSFORMATIONS: MULTI-DIMENSIONAL PERSPECTIVES."— Presentation transcript:

1 by. Wayne K. D. Davies, Geography, University of Calgary, Canada. ( FESTVITIES AS URBAN TRANSFORMATIONS: MULTI-DIMENSIONAL PERSPECTIVES.

2 CONTEXT OF PREVIOUS IGU PAPERS General Themes of Most Papers. Searching for Different Dimensions or Sources of Variation in Various Aspects of Urban Geography, e.g. Urban Systems/ Factorial Ecology of Cities/ Community Variations/Post Modernism Approaches/ Sustainability/ Crime Variations/…… …………now Festivals in part of key Transformations of Cities

3 Importance Festive Events are some of the most important features that contribute to the vitality, excitement and distinctiveness of urban places. Part of major TRANSFORMATIONS of recent urban changes. Urban Commission theme? World Scale examples define the places. Few Towns /Cities are now without a festival. Festivals are often high spot/climax of year.

4 Question: How can we Assess/Interpret Festivals ? What the various Dimensions or Sources of Variation that define their various characters? More Interesting than previous ‘dry’ topics as seen by following examples: Oktoberfest/ Mardi Gras/ Rio Carnival/ Sapporo Snow Festival/ /Calgary Stampede


6 Mardi Gras Parade

7 Mardi Gras, New Orleans

8 Mardi Mardi Gras: Alternative Life-Style

9 Rio: Carnival Parade

10 Snow Festival in Sapporo

11 Calgary Stampede

12 Relevance of Festivals Part of urban life since towns began. Tremendous increase in last 30 years. Also some cities have many festivals Montreal has over a 100/year. Calgary claims 69. New? Curcio-Nagy ( 2004) showed that colonial Mexico City had 5 major and >100 smaller festivals/year. Changes described as: ‘ hyper-festive’ society(Murray 199); development of’ Festive Citie’s ( (Gravari-Barbas 2007); image saturated society as spectacle( Labord

13 Singular Views of Festivals Most are Case Studies… not General/ Theoretical. Conclusions often conflicted, e.g. a) Community? Durkheim (1976) saw them as consolidating communities. Bakthin (1984) saw them as contestations of groups for power b) Engines of Growth, part of cultural renovation of cities …….or purveyors of false consciousness that disguise inequalities and needs of poor?

14 Multi-Dimensional Approach Festivals are complex entities. Gotham (2005) in study of New Orleans showed that the festivals in N.O. often had conflicted and contradictory effects and they were multi-faceted. So what are the different Dimensions? Do they have Alternative and Different results?


16 8 Dimensions of Festivals (others?) Note Alternative Results Ephemeral.. Temporary in Time and Space. Functions: Six Types Forms: Authentic v Inauthentic Experiences: Transformative v Transgressive Exchanges: Symbolic v Reciprocal or Market Exch. Commun. Connectivies: Cohesive v Conflictual Constructiveness: Constructive v Deconstructive Impacts: Gains v Societal Losses Note: Modifications to all through Time.


18 1. Ephemeral- Temporary in Time and Space Time. Events not part of regular, working time.. ‘out of time’ character. Space. Temporary Occupance. Different festivals in different spaces in city or region. Spill over into diff. areas. One site for many festivals

19 2. Functions--Typology Temporal-Cyclical. Pre-urban. e.g Solstices/Planting Religious Beliefs …additional to above Political…Hegemonic …or Alternative/Protest. Traditions or Heritage (Ethnic and Local Place). New Cultural Events. Life-Styles. Festivals may Overlap/have more than one function…and …Morph from 1 to another through time

20 3. Forms One or more of Parades/Costumes/ Music/Dancing etc Authentic to original culture OR Inauthentic…distorted version (Hobsbawn+Ringer 1983.Invention of Tradition) e.g La Cavalcata Sarda.( Sardinia).1899, 1951 Magliocco…distortions Azara..Cohesion...Interest in past….Anti-homog

21 4. Experiences Transformative..Sensory. Pleasure, Excitement.. Insight into past……..Horror? Transgressive.. Challenge to Norms…. Break Mores.. Riots/Debauchery. Allowed for a few days..escape from strictures

22 5. Exchanges As Symbolic…Sacrifice as scapegoat… Please Gods Reciprocal relationships.e.g.. gift exchange Market Exchange…Often an associated part of other functions of older festivals. Now dominant in search for profits?

23 6. Connectivities How do festivals affect connections between people…...especially locals? Either: binding people into community v Conflictual. Alternative views of what to do.. Opposition to noises/excesses of festival Both may apply to various groups….Reconcile?

24 7. Construction Construction.. Takes time, specialised artists, organisers etc Coping. Needs of sanitation, food and drink, shelter, policing

25 8. Societal Impacts? Gains… In addition to ones dealt wit.. Economic..Direct/Multiplier/Future Investment/Prestige Losses… a) Needs of Disadvantaged....stadia for tourists not houses, jobs, education. b) Increased corporate control …grants for sole sponsorship…...locals lose ??? How to reconcile



28 Conclusions. Festivals/festive events are important transformative elements. They define the character of urban places and provide so many functions, including excitement and pleasure, to cities. (Few geogs, except M.G-B, study them) Objective has been to look generally at the kaleidoscope of features in festivals. Provides conceptual framework of the various dimensions of festivals, via examples …globally/historically.

29 Viewed festivals from the lenses of these 8 dimensions. (Are there more?) Enables us to assess the varied character of festivals. It also helps us understand the way different dimensions can produce quite contradictory results, results which often need to be reconciled. ……end

30 Reminder: The (Male)Choice is Yours!

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