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Accepted Paper:

Making space for performativity: publics, powers, and places in a multi-register town festival (Bondoukou, Côte d'Ivoire)  
Karel Arnaut (KULeuven)

Paper long abstract:

Situating itself in the post-Durkheimian debate on ritual, performance, and society, this paper sets out to bring elements of heterogeneity in public ritual to bear on issues of power and agency. Whether in participatory roles and publics, multivocality or generic and stylistic choices, performance is seen as an intricate 'power play'. This paper looks into the Sakaraboutou annual pageant which is held in the town of Bondoukou (Côte d'Ivoire) at end of the Muslim month of fasting. The spatiality and performativity in Sakaraboutou is described in terms of registers, i.e. constellations of different publics, their spatial tactics, displays, and production/exchange of 'text'. In sum, this paper tries it come to grips both with the creative dynamics and the authoritarian traditionalism of public rituals as aspects of their cultural reproduction.

Panel W029
Public celebrations & popular culture in Africa: representations, performances and local appropriations
  Session 1