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Festival and tradition in contemporary Florence

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Certain sectors of the heritage and tourist industry argue that cities with art historical significance should be re-categorized as ‘museum cities’ because visitors intent on acquiring particular limited ‘consumer’ experiences outnumber the local population. Using the Feast Day of San Giovanni in Florence, Italy, as a focus this article questions this assumption. By evaluating the form of the feast day events and their relationship to the urban landscape, some of the historical conditions that have shaped the city are revealed. These conditions, understood as civic praxis, are accessible to everyone (to different degrees) and suggest Florence is anything but a museum.
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Keywords: Florence; architecture; civic praxis; festival; hermeneutics; tradition

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Birmingham City University

Publication date: 01 June 2016

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  • Cities have been increasingly at the forefront of debate in both humanities and social-science disciplines, but there has been relatively little dialogue across these disciplinary boundaries. Journals in social-science fields that use urban-studies methods to look at life in cities rarely explore the cultural aspects of urban life in any depth or delve into close readings of the representation of cities in individual cultural products. As a platform for interdisciplinary scholarship from any and all linguistic, cultural and geographical traditions, the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies prioritizes the urban phenomenon in order to better understand the culture(s) of cities.
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