Dr. Jon Croose’s professional output

The Official Feast: Cultural Tensions in UK Carnival

Article – Published 7th Aug 17


This paper reveals how UK street carnival is located within policy discourses that facilitate notions of creative economy, inter-place competition and the representation of institutionally-preferred versions of local, regional and national place-identity. The paper draws on ethnographic research within two community town carnivals and the professional Battle for the Winds carnival performances that launched the 2012 Olympic sailing at Weymouth. It considers the evolution of policy-driven carnival vocabularies that were designed to articulate preferred ‘Jurassic Coast’ and Olympic place identities for the south-west UK during 2012, and their effect on two vernacular, community street carnivals in East Devon and Dorset. The paper exposes the cultural tension between these vernacular events and the ‘official feast’ of Jurassic Coast and Olympic carnival, in terms of their performance of contradictory place-identities and contested notions of artistic community. It describes the popular challenge to aesthetic hegemony that these community carnivals presented during 2012. Finally, the author argues for a reassessment of the artistic value of vernacular carnivals, and affirms their status as a culture of resistance that creates alternative, sometimes inconvenient, symbolic constructions of community and place to those preferred by institutional actors operating within a neo-liberal discourse of inter-place competition.

Publication details

Publication status Published
Refereed 1
Publication title Social and Cultural Geography
Author(s) Dr Jonathan Croose
Publishers name Routledge, Taylor and Francis
Volume 1-24, 2017
Identification number DOI: 10.1080/14649365.2017.1362587
Number of pages 25
Page range 1–25
ISSN 1470-1197