Conference Agenda

RN07_10b: Sociology of Culture: Events and identity
Friday, 23/Aug/2019:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Joost Van Loon, Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt
Location: GM.335
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Geoffrey Manton, Third Floor 4 Rosamond Street West Off Oxford Road


Identity and Its Questioning: Social Struggle, Self-Critique and Group Psychic Processes

Dimitra Kotouza

Independent Researcher, United Kingdom

This paper presents an approach to analysing social struggle by focusing on the problematics of identity and the development of self-critique in movements. By ‘identity’ I refer not to ‘identity politics’, but to the formation of group identities in the process of struggle, which are associated with subject positions within existing—-but discursively and ideologically mediated—-social power relationships. Thus the problem of identity is not only relevant to movements and politics of gender, race and sexuality but also to labour, class and nation, and processes of self-identification and subjectivation. I draw on three relevant strands of the critique of identity: Adorno's philosophical critique of identity-thinking; the critique of the subject developed by Foucault and theorists who extended his work; and psychoanalytic approaches to subject formation, group relations and critical knowledge. I propose that 'negative moments', which appear as moments of defeat and identity disintegration, are simultaneously productive moments, a precondition for a self-critical process and the development of new forms of collectivity and transformative practice. I Illustrate by drawing on examples of my research on movements in Greece.

Boundaries by Design: Design Careers and Navigating Multiple Fields

Laura E. Braden

Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands, The

Design has evolved from a perfunctory business activity to an essential competitive advantage in today’s markets. Having paved new aesthetic standards for the 21st-century, designers are at the intersection of art, business, social engagement, and science and technology. Yet, multidisciplinary intersections typical of design practice pose difficult symbolic and professional contradictions as professional fields offer different value measurements and rewards. Consequently, careers that intersect fields face greater challenges to long-term economic and status achievements. Given post-recession demands on creative workers, interdisciplinary approaches are increasingly stressed—yet little is known of the effect on these workers. Studying designers can offer broad insights into creative work and shifting professional and cultural values.

This research seeks to understand how design professionals make sense of and navigate the increasingly fluid boundaries between overlapping fields and what consequences this fluidity has for design careers. I examine the careers of 1,535 graduates from Design Academy Eindhoven (NL) from 1966 to 2017. Using sequence analysis, I analyze the general career patterns taken by these designers. Results indicate designers are adapt at “boundary-spanning,” allowing them to jump professional fields and increased professional options result in longer employment periods. The research findings specifically responds to recent calls to examine how multiple, interacting boundaries shape professional identities (Pachucki et al. 2007), how creative workers manage ambiguity in developing artistic identities (Lingo and Tepper 2013), and how legitimating aesthetic ideologies disseminate and achieve consensus (Ridgeway et al. 2006, Baumann 2007).

Belonging beyond Boundaries: Investigating Social Interactions in Popular Culture Events

Lenia Marques1, Carla Borba2

1Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands, The; 2Federal University of Pernambuco, Brazil

The personal experience in events has been recently focus of attention (de Geus et al., 2015; Richards, 2017; Marques and Borba, 2017). There are different dimensions to this experience, which has been evaluated through the Events Experience Scale (EES). However, literature also points out to the importance of social interaction (Nordvall et al, 2008; Rihova, 2013; Rihova et al. 2013). In the social processes of events, Rihova (2013) points out the both aspects of “belonging” and “detaching”, which are the two poles of different levels of social interaction configuring the events social experience.

Taking a widely celebrated popular culture event in Brazil, São João, this paper seeks to consider these different levels of social interaction. A quantitative approach has been taken, and 645 survey responses have been gathered between 2016 and 2017. Ultimately, this paper will contribute not only to a better understanding of the social dimensions of popular culture events, but also to develop methodological tools which can be used for future research.

Geus, S. D., Richards, G., & Toepoel, V. (2016). Conceptualisation and operationalisation of event and festival experiences: Creation of an event experience scale. Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism, 16(3), 274-296.

Nordvall, A., Pettersson, R., Svensson, B., & Brown, S. (2014). Designing events for social interaction. Event Management, 18(2), 127-140.

Rihova, I. (2013). Customer-to-customer co-creation of value in the context of festivals(Doctoral dissertation, Bournemouth University).

Rihova, I., Buhalis, D., Moital, M., & Gouthro, M. B. (2015). Conceptualising customer‐to‐customer value co‐creation in tourism. International Journal of Tourism Research, 17(4), 356-363.

Community, Difference and Symbolic Boundaries: The Case of a Moors and Christians Festivity

Rita Ribeiro, Emilia Araujo

CECS - University of Minho, Portugal

In the Northwest of Portugal, near the city of Porto, a traditional popular festival is held annually on St. John's Day, encompassing the whole community of Sobrado (Valongo). It is a symbolically dense and complex celebration, of which only one of its facets will be addressed. In multiple performances of dance, music and drama, the ‘Bugiada e Mouriscada’ celebrates an old legend that puts in dispute the Christian people of the region and the Moorish army in a struggle for the miraculous statue of St. John the Baptist. Despite being unique in Portugal, festivities celebrating the Moorish and Christian conflict are common in Europe, especially in Spain, and Latin America. Unlike similar festivals, in Sobrado the superiority of the Christians is not evident and there is no conversion of the Moors to the enemies' faith. In fact, the Moorish army is victorious and only the intervention of a mythological serpent avoids the subjugation of the Christians. After the battle, both groups resume their positions and perform the last dance of the holiday.

What role has this type of cultural expression today? How is it interpreted by the local community and visitors? How does it contribute to the rethinking and reimagining of the symbolic boundaries between different cultures and religions? The plasticity of the festival allows diverse interpretations and has the potential, in the context of growing cultural heritage tourism, to re-signify the symbolic conflict and produce a pedagogy of tolerance and otherness.