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Festival Worlds: A Sociology of Culture, Collective Experience and Temporary Tribes.

Mackman, Gemma (2020) Festival Worlds: A Sociology of Culture, Collective Experience and Temporary Tribes. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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This thesis contains an exploration of the contemporary, and highly social, leisure worlds of music festivals. It is concerned with the continued collective production of a culture and cultural practice which is no longer constitutes a sub-cultural gathering. Instead the research proposes that participation in populist music festivals is deeply meaningful and has implications for the wider social world. The primary aim of this study was to identify the social and cultural facets and nuances that enabled the production of highly social events, where oppositional cultural persona’s temporarily reside in relative harmony. Furthermore, it seeks to reveal the significant characteristics of a festival culture that unites both producers and consumers, cultural and hedonistic tourists, to produce a comprehensive sociological study of culture based upon three UK music festivals, on four occasions. Conducted over a four year period, data collection sought to position the voices, experiences and emotions of the participants at the very forefront of theorisation. In doing so, this thesis centralises its themes around those which have been identified whilst in the field. Through repetition, and subsequent layering of findings, the research process afforded an insider’s view of proceedings, networks, organisation and hierarchies and rather than adopt the position of sole ethnographer employs collective and social reflexivity in order to overcome the challenges of qualitative methodologies. Hence, the findings produced are representative of actual experiences and action and, as such, speak on behalf of leisure groups who may otherwise be disregarded as hedonist or consumerist. Set within enclosed confines, the festivals under observation are positioned as ‘worlds’, a definition that recognises the conventions and norms that operate outside of festival spaces. Whilst interpreting the physical divide as creating a liminal zone or ‘other’ this thesis exposes an affectual scene that enables the accumulation of cultural capital, and deeply meaningful experiences for its residents.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Music Festivals; Neo-tribes; Ageing; Liminality; Authenticity;
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology, Department of
Depositing User: Gemma Mackman
Date Deposited: 13 Feb 2020 10:28
Last Modified: 13 Feb 2020 10:28

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