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Session Overview
RS13_05: Maintenance and re-invention in celebration
Thursday, 22/Aug/2019:
11:00am - 12:30pm

Session Chair: Ismo Juhani Kantola, University of Turku
Location: BS.3.23
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Business School, Third Floor, North Atrium Oxford Road

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Dressed for celebration

Vilde Haugrønning, Ingun Grimastad Klepp, Kirsi Laitala

Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway

How is everyday life re-created for celebrations and public holidays through use of clothing and home textiles? Most Norwegian families celebrate annual holidays such as Christmas and 17th of May (the Constitution Day), as well as days related to the life cycle, such as birthdays and confirmation. Based on a nationally representative survey material about Christmas and other celebrations, we discuss how clothes and home textiles contribute to creating a holiday for women and men, and for young and old. We will look in particular at the relationship between tradition and newness or variation in dressing on one side, and the degree of formality in the dress code on the other. Clothing for festive social occasions is generally thought to be low priority in Norway in favour of clothing for work, sports and outdoor life, but homes are especially decorated for Christmas and expensive folk costumes are used for celebration of the Constitution day. Overall, we know little about the way clothes and home textiles such as tablecloths and napkins are part of creating the festive occasion.

Re-Inventing the Slava Celebration: The Case of Serbian Immigrants in Sweden

Sabina Hadzibulic

Uppsala University, Sweden

The slava celebration is a unique Serbian Orthodox custom where each family annually celebrates its patron saint on a certain feast day. Besides Christmas and Easter, the slava represents one of the most important celebrations in the life of each Serbian Orthodox family. Its importance lies in an occasion to reveal one’s religious affiliation, and especially national identity. With the post-socialist transformation of Serbian society characterized by a newly established relationship between the young democratic state and the Serbian Orthodox Church, the slava regained its recognition. That resulted in a rapid increase of the number of people celebrating it, as well as in a transformation of the way it is celebrated.

This paper focuses on the slava celebration among Serbian immigrants in Sweden. The goal is to show how the slava is practiced and interpreted by Serbian immigrant families in Sweden. Additionally, the ways in which the slava affects the identity formation, and the consequences of it for the integration into Swedish society are analyzed. The paper is based on data collected through the analysis of several cases of different generation Serbian Orthodox families living in Sweden.

"As Long-Lasting As Possible" Or "Until Death Do Us Part"? Humanist Weddings In Poland And Changing Attitudes Towards Love And Marriage Issues

Agata Rejowska

Jagiellonian University, Poland

Humanist weddings are a relatively new phenomenon in Poland (the first marriage was conducted in 2007), however their popularity is still growing. The Polish context is interesting, taking into account the fact of the importance of Catholicism as a cultural religion in this country.

Conducted research revealed, that humanist marriage ceremonies are strongly individualized. The old forms (e.g., the conventional structure of the rite of passage) are filled by new, alternative contents (e.g., love is declared by phrases such as "long-lasting as possible" and not by "until death do us part"). As masters of ceremony noticed, the performative "I vow" is increasingly being replaced by "I promise", "I swear" or “I will be for you” which indicates less power of influence. In this way, performative (causative) power of ceremony (understood in accordance with John Austin’s theory) declines (which may indicate that there is an alteration in understanding marriage and its indissolubility). The emergence of secular alternative could be also the manifestation of resistance to hegemony (e.g., the Roman Catholic Church and/or heteronormative culture – a large part of humanist marriages in Poland are concluded by same-sex couples, because of the lack of alternative).

The paper is based on research which has been conducted since 2015. So far, the research process has included semi-structured interviews with masters of humanist ceremonies, participatory observations of wedding ceremonies, qualitative analysis of the content of speeches, oaths, scripts and materials made available by the masters of ceremonies (as well as collected during observations) and narrative interviews with the main actors of the marriage ceremonies (young couples).

To Feel or not to Feel like Christmas. Exploring the Festive Emotionality from a Life Course Perspective.

Ozana Cucu-Oancea

Institute of Sociology, Romania

A worldwide phenomenon, celebrated today by billions of people around the world, regardless of their religious beliefs, the modern Christmas is often defined by social scientists as a Victorian social construct. More or less consciously, we are moving inside certain festive frames. We are concerned with observing rituals and traditions, we are consumers of seasonal products and services - the Christmas special offers! - and participants of festive events organized in the public space. At the same time, we criticize the "Christmas marketing", we deplore the fade away of the holiday spirit, expressing our sadness that "Christmas does not feel the same anymore". But what exactly is the meaning of "the same" and "anymore" in this statement and what does "feel like Christmas" mean? Is "the holiday spirit" just an overall cliché or also an embodiment of social reality?

Although the concept of Christmas Spirit is often mentioned in the scientific literature, there are surprisingly few studies focused on its empirical analysis, and no consensus on its definition yet. Following a social constructivist Grounded Theory methodology, this paper explores the everyday lives of people around Christmas, trying to capture the realities behind Christmas stereotypes and to draw patterns of change in the people's festive emotionality. The paper analyzes longitudinal data collected through solicited diaries, kept by 16 participants, around Christmas time, once every 6-7 years (2004, 2010-2011, 2016-2017), providing a valuable prospective view on the research issue, and a deeper insight into the meaning of the "Christmas spirit" concept.

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