City festivals: creativity and control in staged urban experiences

Johansson, M. and Kociatkiewicz, J. (2011) City festivals: creativity and control in staged urban experiences. European Urban and Regional Studies, 18(4), pp. 392-405. (doi: 10.1177/0969776411407810)

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In a global market, cities aim to develop a distinct profile to attract mobile consumers. One means increasingly used to attain distinction is to brand the city as experience space. In particular, the urban festival has become a popular organizational form for creating experience spaces and for marketing cities. Festivals are often strategically conceived with the purpose of promoting a ‘distinctive city’, in line with uniqueness being the keystone of success in the experience economy. This paper applies an experience economy framework to analyse city festivals as potentially transformative practices, helping re-imagine urban space and reshape urban identity. Building on empirical studies of the Stockholm Culture Festival and the Nowy Kercelak Fair in Warsaw, it examines the tension between controlled image production and carnivalesque celebration and the extent to which the meanings and flow of urban space can be managed. Using Lefèbvre’s notion of the production of space and Deleuze and Guattari’s concepts of de-territorialization and re-territorialization, this paper critically assesses the possibility of reshaping urban practices through the staging of festivals, and the potential for creativity and expression extant in managed staging of experience.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Johansson, Dr Marjana
Authors: Johansson, M., and Kociatkiewicz, J.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Journal Name:European Urban and Regional Studies
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN (Online):1461-7145
Published Online:13 June 2011

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