State effects and festival performances: Indigenous Australian participation in the Festival of Pacific Arts

Henry, Rosita (2015) State effects and festival performances: Indigenous Australian participation in the Festival of Pacific Arts. In: Hviding, Edvard, and White , Geoffrey, (eds.) Pacific Alternatives: cultural politics in contemporary Oceania. Sean Kingston Publishing, Canon Pyon, UK, pp. 27-45.

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In order to shed light on the creative ways that the concept of cultural heritage is being employed in response to global processes in the Pacific, this chapter focuses on the Festival of Pacific Arts, initially called the South Pacific Festival of Arts. I specifically focus on the festival as a site of political engagement between local communities and the state. Participants at the Festival of Pacific Arts are supported to attend the event as delegates and representatives of their nation-states. Yet, my research reveals that for at least some delegates, performing at the festival appears to be as much about discounting the state as representing it. Although the festival is clearly a state affair, it also provides fertile ground for grassroots action and a performative engagement with political alternatives. As David Guss (2000:172) concludes in his book The Festive State, in which he explores the power of the state to harness festive forms in its own interests: 'To those involved the stakes are high. For, as participants well know, festivals, for all their joy and color, are also battlegrounds where identities are fought over and communities made'.

Item ID: 39624
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-1-907774-38-6
Keywords: Festival of Pacific Arts; Indigenous Australian; state effects; cultural diplomacy; cultural anthropology
Funders: Research Council of Norway (RCN)
Projects and Grants: RCN Grant No. 185646
Date Deposited: 31 May 2016 03:20
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1601 Anthropology > 160104 Social and Cultural Anthropology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9503 Heritage > 950302 Conserving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage @ 40%
94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9403 International Relations > 940399 International Relations not elsewhere classified @ 20%
95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9599 Other Cultural Understanding > 959999 Cultural Understanding not elsewhere classified @ 40%
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