It is noted in the introduction to this book that ' Festivals are believed to recreate and emphasize relationships that are normally submerged; of being built in structures whilst following unstructured codes, of creating a separate world with its own rules, personnel and expectations; of encompassing contradictory ideas and practices while involving formal and informal institutions: So what is this 'separate world'? What relationships, normally unseen or unnoticed, are made apparent within the space of the festival? While the origins of festivals lie in the close relationship of the quotidian and ritual aspects of traditional communities, how do contemporary festivals relate to the diversity of multicultural societies? Conversely, how are they inflected by the forces of globalization, by the festivalization of culture that in recent years has become a widespread tactic for the promotion of cities and regions? While many traditional festivals still exist, increasing urbanization, improved communications and diversified migration have meant that many contemporary festivals are of recent origin, the products of what Giddens refers to as the post-traditional state of present societies (Giddens 1994). This description highlights the self-conscious nature of dealing with culture in a world of competing and overlapping world views. While cultural identity and authenticity are still used to infer the existence of qualities intrinsic to communities, ethnicities or nations, the fragmentation and interconnectedness of contemporary societies have long made assertions of essence untenable. Meanings have become dependent on performativity and context. Cultural identity, while traditionally applied to those sharing a particular geographic, linguistic, ethnic or religious background, has become extended to other senses of belonging, to communities based on sexuality, physicality or simply shared experience and taste. The notion that festivals might create separate worlds suggests that part of the reason for their recent proliferation in recent times is that they provide the ideal medium for both performance and participation in this diffuse and shifting environment.
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