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Accepted Paper:

has pdf download Festival ethnography through the looking glass: alternative methods and knowledge production in Sardinia, North Catalonia and the Baltic States.  


Chiara Cocco (Heriot Watt University)
Aleida Bertran (Latvian Academy of Culture)

Paper short abstract:

This paper examines the multifarious dimensions of ethnographic knowledge-production in festival studies. Case studies from Sardinia, North Catalonia and the Baltic States elucidate on alternative methodologies and off-field implications on the ethnographer's experience and perception of identity.

Paper long abstract:

The construction of knowledge in ethnography has been widely debated within the traditional framework (see for example Boas 1888, Malinowski 1915, Geertz 1973). The continuous changes in ethnographic research paradigms have transformed the meanings and boundaries of 'the field', allowing the researcher to 'being there' rather than simply 'being there' (Nic Craith and Hill, 2015), bringing complex realities onto the surface. This phenomenon is especially visible in festival studies, where the fieldwork is subject to constant change and media platforms build new and often contrasting narratives. Hence, ethnographic observation and technology become an intrinsic duality that poses challenges to the understanding and interpretation of festivals as emotion and identity-building platforms (Leal, 2016). By discussing alternative methodology, such as 'visual ethnography' (Pink, 2013) and multi-sited 'yo-yo fieldwork' (Wulff, 2002), this paper sheds light on the implications that off-site research has on the researcher's own experience. Particular focus is placed on the value of reflexivity in the field (Salzman, 2002) and the challenges faced by the ethnographer in relation to identity. Through the research of Chiara Cocco (Heriot-Watt University, Scotland) on the Festival of Sant'Efisio in Sardinia, and Aleida Bertran (Latvian Academy of Culture) on the International Sardana Festival of Ceret (North Catalonia) and Festival Baltica in the Baltic States, this presentation will examine the diverse perspectives of ethnographic knowledge-production.

Panel P097
Staying Tuned - Connections Beyond 'The Field'