Antropologicheskij forum, 2019, no. 41



Irina Sedakova
Institute for Slavic Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences
32A Leninsky Av., Moscow, Russia

Alexander Novik
Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera), Russian Academy of Sciences
3 Universitetskaya Emb., St Petersburg, Russia
St Petersburg State University
7/9 Universitetskaya Emb., St Petersburg, Russia

Alexandra Dugushina
Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera), Russian Academy of Sciences
3 Universitetskaya Emb., St Petersburg, Russia

Abstract: This review article reflects on the multidimensional scholarly issues surrounding city festivals on the basis of papers and discussions during the eponymous international conference organized by the SIEF Working Group “The Ritual Year” in Bucharest, Romania. The study of urban festivals reveals expected (the transformation of the ritual calendar, semiotics of the city landscape, opposition between secular and religious festivities) and unexpected aspects (bodily and sensory issues). The discussions during international symposia disclose the national differences in the traditional anthropological methodology and approaches, and also shed light on quasi- and pseudo-scientific elements in traditional scholarly investigations. The conference papers discussed the dynamic development of the festivals in the megapolises, cities and small towns, the wide variety of the scenarios, contents and loci of the events, as well as the major trends in the changes of the rituals in many European, US and Asian cities. During the last two decades, the participation of migrants in the cultural and traditional life in the new milieu, and the influence of the newcomers on the authentic customs, emerged as an important academic issue. The aspiration to express self-identification is combined with the wish to go along with the “globalized” calendar, deep interest in vivid visual effects, growing attention towards the senses and the body — all these topics have been touched upon in the papers and discussions. The increasing role of the link between the content and the form of the urban rituals with ideology, local branding and commerce turned out to be one of the major themes. That is why the next international conference of “The Ritual Year” group will be dedicated to the general topic of tradition and commerce, and will be held in Riga, Latvia in June, 2020 during the traditional folk market.

Keywords: urban and gender studies, festivals, folk religiosity, pseudo science, calendric customs, body rituals.

To cite: Sedakova I., Novik A., Dugushina A., ‘Prazdnichnaya urbanistika: teoriya i praktika, traditsiya i kreativ’ [Urban Festivity: Theory and Practice, Tradition and Creativity], Antropologicheskij forum, 2019, no. 41, pp. 183–206.