TROPICAL GEOGRAPHY ›› 2018, Vol. 38 ›› Issue (2): 166-175.doi: 10.13284/j.cnki.rddl.003020

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Impacts of Festivals on Community Reconstruction in the Context of Modernity

LIN Geng,CHEN Xiaoxuan,YANG Fan   

  1. (School of Geography and Planning,Sun Yat-Sen University,Guangzhou 510275,China)
  • Online:2018-03-05 Published:2018-03-05


Under the influence of modernity, community has become more complicated in many aspects such as values, identity, social relationships, etc. Festivals, as the expression of lifestyle and culture that interacts with community, has become an important event by which the community reconstruction is observed and influenced. With the unprecedented revival of festivals in the latter half of twentieth century, the relationship of festivals with the vicissitude of community in the context of modernity has been concentrated in cultural geography. Based on analysis of previous literature of festivals and community reconstruction, the process and mechanism of community reconstruction such as the vicissitude of community, the interrelatedness of social relations and power, the conflicts and integration in community development can be explained more deeply. This article proposes a framework in regard of the relationship between festivals and community reconstruction under the context of modernity in four aspects: continuation of traditional community and reproduction of modern identity, reform of immigrant community and integration of multiple identities, community regeneration and place marketing, the reshaping of order and negotiation of power. The results can be illustrated as follows : (1) Traditional communities pursue or rebuild local traditions through festivals, by which the community identity is continued, reconstructed and strengthened and then transformed into social capital to maintain local continuity in a rapidly changing world. (2) In terms of the migrants in multicultural communities, festivals is not only a way of protecting their original identity , but also an acculturation strategy to integrate into the local community and establish hybrid identity. (3) Rooted in the local culture, festivals can also be used as symbol economy. Communities rely on them for place marketing to revive their vitality and establish their image. However, the interrelated realities such as economy, politics, culture, society embedded in festival promotion need to be acknowledged to address deeper mechanism of community regeneration. (4) In a world dominated by discourse, the power relationship enables different stakeholders to impose their will on social relations. What is more, the invasion of capital makes the power structure more sophisticated. Therefore, the reconstructing of community identity, class stratification, place image and economy vitality has become more and more pluralistic. In conclusion, the reconstruction of modern community is closely tied with festivals. On the one hand, the community is not dispelled by modernity, but developing in a more sophisticated manner with continuing the traditional community order, or building hybrid community order by absorbing foreign and innovative elements, or expanding its influences through place marketing. On the other hand, festivals are constantly adjusted and recreated by globalization, marketization and other modern forces. Furthermore, considering the particular context of contemporary China in a period of rapidly social transformation, it is worthy of conducting locally theoretical and empirical researches on the interaction of Chinese rural society and modernity. Around this theme, it is instructive to explore the relationship between festivals and community reconstruction in China from the perspectives of different actors and the creation of social relations, community boundaries and social production, etc.

Key words: festivals, community reconstruction, modernity, identity, place marketing