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Festivals, Identities, and Belonging

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Research has suggested that festivals may influence the identities of the people involved and the host community itself. This impact may be a result of the events functioning as occasions to express collective belonging to a group or a place, and provide opportunities to create united histories, cultural practices, and ideals, but there is little evidence for this. Hence, this article seeks to investigate (1) how festivals influence individual and social identities, (2) what this influence on identities means for the people involved (collective identities) and identity with a place (place belongingness), and (3) how festivals influence the self-image and place identity of the local community. The findings are based on a qualitative study with 32 in-depth interviews with festival organizers, operational festival workers, municipality officers, and tourism firms related to three festivals in rural areas in Finnmark, Norway. These festivals provide core activities that build on or are displayed in a frame of local culture and heritage. The area has different challenges, in some ways related to a difficult climate, lack of work, and different ethnicities, represented by Norwegian, Russian, Finnish, and Sami cultures. In line with the approach, it is concluded that festivals do influence the identities of people and place and that all processes related to festivals influence the need to belong.
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Keywords: BELONGING; FESTIVALS; FINNMARK; IDENTITIES; PLACE; SAMI

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2013

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  • 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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