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‘We can’t just put any belly-dancer into the program’: cultural activism as boundary work in the city of Bratislava



Druh Článek v odborném periodiku
Časopis / Zdroj Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Fakulta / Pracoviště MU

Fakulta sociálních studií

Klíčová slova cultural activism, migration, civil society, multicultural festival, symbolic boundaries
Popis Festivals are an increasingly more popular form of contemporary cultural activism. Countering prejudice through arts, using culture as a tool of communication, and creating an opportunity for marginalised groups to participate in public life, they represent a specific and novel means of civic activism. In this paper, I introduce a case study of the multicultural festival [fjúžn], aiming to enhance the public visibility of ‘new minorities’ and bring attention to the ethnic and cultural diversity in the city of Bratislava, Slovakia. Building on a festival ethnography and drawing on the perspective of boundary work (Jaworsky 2016), I show how the festival organisers work towards crossing and blurring symbolic boundaries in society. I offer a close interpretive reading of their attempts at capturing public places and cultivating a diverse language-scape, while showing how they simultaneously maintain, solidify, or even inscribe new boundaries. I conclude by raising critical points about the potential of activist cultural festivals to shift symbolic boundaries in the long run and serve as tools of social inclusion.

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