Gendered violence at international festivals: An interdisciplinary perspective
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Platt, L. & Finkel, R. (2020) Gendered violence at international festivals: An interdisciplinary perspective. In: Platt, L. & Finkel, R. (eds.) Gendered Violence at International Festivals: An Interdisciplinary Perspective. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 1-8.
This introductory chapter argues that liminality as conceived by van Gennep (1960) and, subsequently, Turner (1969, 1979, 1982) within the festival literature has been under-theorised and, as a result, has limited event scholars’ abilities to be critical of festival spaces, especially when it comes to gendered power dynamics and structural inequalities. There is an assumption that power is dispersed or even absent under ‘communitas’. However, we argue there is often a neglect to understand how hegemonic cultural structures and social controls still govern these experiential settings. We also argue that festivals are too quickly seen as spaces of rupture when they are more likely to reinforce the status quo. This chapter frames the discussion around the increase in reported sexual assaults and gendered violence at festivals to argue that a persistence to characterise them as uncomplicated, value-free, utopic liminial/liminoid is highly problematic. It then presents the interdisciplinary chapters in this volume focusing on gendered violence at international festivals, and concludes with a ‘call to arms’ to change contemporary praxis in festival environs.