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Accepted Paper:

Fragmented yet present. Popular culture, protest and performance during the pandemia in contemporary Basque Country  
Aitzpea Leizaola (University of the Basque Country)

Paper short abstract:

Bringing together tradition, popular culture and contemporary forms of protest in the Basque Country, Irrikitaldia closes the Pirates’ week long alternative to Donostia's official fiesta. Under its joyful appearance, this harsh critique of local politics has proved to adapt to the pandemic context.

Paper long abstract:

Produced as an entertainment for the elite tourism in the 19th century Donostia the Semana Grande or Big Week, unlike other fiestas, was primarily considered a fiesta for outsiders and as such has long been despised by local youth. At the end of Franco’s dictatorship, many social movements included fiestas as part of their agenda and were bitterly repressed, especially in Donostia. After several decades of inaction, the Pirates, a group of politically active young people started to organize an alternative fiesta program in 2002. Performed as a masquerade in the old part of the city, with improvisations and a joyful defilé, Irrikitaldia (Laugh and protest) embraces a long-standing tradition in popular Basque culture combining critical and political theatre as well as contemporary imaginative acts of protest and performances. Drawing from ethnographic fieldwork on the summer fiestas of Donostia, this paper intends to address the relationship between popular culture and protest. Focusing on contemporary forms of contestation and critique I address the way grassroot movements have been able to adapt –adopting fragmented forms- to the constraints of the Covid-19 pandemia. The ethnographic case of Irrikitaldia analyzes the capacity of resilience of festive rituals and their spatial inscription, both in social media and in the urban cityscape, appealing to cohesive function of festive forms and its potentiality for transgression, a feature particularly relevant to understand the social responses to the constraint and control measures implemented during 2020-21 Summers.

Panel P075a
Creating performing arts settings against the odds I
  Session 1 Tuesday 26 July, 2022, -