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The Role of Festivals in Strengthening Social Capital in Rural Communities

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Many regional and rural economies are suffering from serious economic decline. Small towns face considerable economic development challenges, including dwindling populations, limited employment opportunities, and a decline in the traditional agricultural sector. Tourism and events play a significant role in regional strategies that seek to encourage economic diversification and tap into potential localized economic opportunities. Community events are commonly used by local government and other stakeholders to revitalize rural communities, and these events become tourism products staged for commercial purposes, thus making substantial contributions to regional economies. However, although a festival model may be a successful means to activate both opportunities for economic development or regeneration as well as enhancing social connectedness through cultural activities that often draw on local culture and history, festivals are also potentially divisive because of the social changes wrought by in-migration populations and their associate networks. This case study uses the Clunes Booktown Festival to address concerns about social inclusion, renewal, and sustainability in rural regions. Drawing on the concept of social capital, this article examines the role of class and mobility to unpack the complex networks of mobile capital and their reshaping of rural places, and what this means in terms of community and belonging.
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Keywords: BELONGING; CLASS; COMMUNITY; FESTIVALS; RURAL DEVELOPMENT; SOCIAL CAPITAL

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 13 December 2018

This article was made available online on 26 September 2018 as a Fast Track article with title: "THE ROLE OF FESTIVALS IN STRENGTHENING SOCIAL CAPITAL IN RURAL COMMUNITIES".

More about this publication?
  • Event Management, an International Journal, intends to meet the research and analytic needs of a rapidly growing profession focused on events. This field has developed in size and impact globally to become a major business with numerous dedicated facilities, and a large-scale generator of tourism. The field encompasses meetings, conventions, festivals, expositions, sport and other special events. Event management is also of considerable importance to government agencies and not-for-profit organizations in a pursuit of a variety of goals, including fund-raising, the fostering of causes, and community development.
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