Quinn, B. and Wilks, L. (2016) ‘Linking social capital, cultural capital and heterotopia at the folk festival’, Journal of Comparative Research in Anthropology and Sociology 7 (1) 23-39
This paper investigates the role of folk festivals in transforming interconnections between people, space and culture. It interlinks three sets of theoretical ideas: social capital, cultural capital and heterotopia to suggest a new conceptual framework that will help to frame a deeper understanding of the nature of celebration. Qualitative data were collected at two long-established folk festivals, Sidmouth Folk Festival in southern England and the Feakle Traditional Music Festival in western Ireland, in order to investigate these potential links. Although Foucault did not fully develop the concept of heterotopia, his explanation that heterotopias are counter-sites, which, unlike utopias, are located in real, physical, space-time, has inspired others, including some festival researchers, to build on his ideas. This study concludes that the heterotopian concept of the festival as sacred space, with the stage as umbilicus, may be linked to the building of social capital; while it is suggested that both social capital and appropriate cultural capital are needed to gain full entry to the heterotopia.
30 August 2016
Recent publication by Konstantina Zerva and Peter Nijkamp:
Zerva, K. and Nijkamp, P. (2016) ‘Tour guides as information filters in urban heterotopias: Evidence from the Amsterdam Red Light District’ Tourism Management Perspectives, 18: 42-50.
An unconventional urban environment often acts as an attraction for tourists. This is exemplified by the old city centre of Amsterdam, through its urban gentrification which offers a unique tourist experience through an interplay of contradicting concepts: legal and illegal, or moral and immoral. Based on Foucault’s heterotopias of informational deviance and the informational role of tour guides, the aim of this paper is to show the critical influence of the tour guide’s contribution to the tourist experience of visiting these often morally contradicting concepts. Tour guides operate in this context as ‘information filters’, based on the tourist guides’ personalities and background. To analyse this information sensitivity, five tours were examined in the Red Light District, three related to prostitution and two to Coffee Shops. Through systematic participant observation, descriptive results were obtained, which highlight the importance of the guides’ personal profile in interpreting this experience to tourists.
8 August 2016
New article by Charlotte Johnson (2016):
‘District heating as heterotopia: Tracing the social contract through domestic energy infrastructure in Pimlico, London’
on-line Economic Anthropology 3 (1) 94-105
The Pimlico District Heating Undertaking (PDHU) was London’s first attempt at neighborhood heating. Built in the 1950s to supply landmark social housing project Churchill Gardens, the district heating system sent heat from nearby Battersea power station into the radiators of the housing estate. The network is a rare example in the United Kingdom, where, unlike other European states, district heating did not become widespread. Today the heating system supplies more than 3,000 homes in the London Borough of Westminster, having survived the closure of the power station and the privatization of the housing estate it supplies. Therefore, this article argues, the neighborhood can be understood as a heterotopia, a site of an alternative sociotechnical order. This concept is used to understand the layers of economic, political, and technological rationalities that have supported PDHU and to question how it has survived radical changes in housing and energy policy in the United Kingdom. This lens allows us to see the tension between the urban planning and engineering perspective, which celebrates this system as a future-oriented “experiment,” and the reality of managing and using the system on the estate. The article analyzes this technology-enabled standard of living as a social contract between state and citizen, suggesting this is a way to analyze contemporary questions of district energy.
1 August 2016