From P2P Foundation
Jump to navigation Jump to search

URL = http://peaceaware.com/special/1/pages/festivalism.htm


By David Boje at http://business.nmsu.edu/~dboje/papers/Festivalism_at_Work.html

"Festival is the self-management and self-design of our own leisure time and space, the realization of what we need to live and evolve as a species, with the most minimal harm to any other species. Festival is a way of doing business that respects people, communities, and the ecology. Festival balances stakeholder interests in the future generation (stakeholders include workers, managers, owners, investors, customers, local communities, future generations, and the ecosystem)." (http://business.nmsu.edu/~dboje/papers/Festivalism_at_Work.html)

Comparison Table

Spectacle and Festival: http://business.nmsu.edu/~dboje/papers/Festivalism_at_Work.html


  1. Work
  2. Work or play time
  3. Imposed patterns of behavior
  4. Dead time
  5. Religions of consumption
  6. Pseudo desires
  7. Pseudo needs
  8. Loss of Self
  9. Colonized spaces
 10. Spectator
 11. Functionary
 12. Survival of the Fittest/Richest 


  1. Play
  2. Work and play
  3. Freely constructed behavior
  4. Live time
  5. Self
  6. Transparent desires
  7. Transparent needs
  8. Self-Management
  9. Free spaces
 10. Participant/Co-designer
 11. Self-Managed
 12. Coevolution and Co-survival


The Festival and the Spectacle

By David Boje at http://business.nmsu.edu/~dboje/papers/Festivalism_at_Work.html

"Spectacle is above all a legitimating narrative for social engineering and social control masking the violent (non-Ahimsa) acts of production and consumption. By spectacle I mean Debord’s (1967) the Society of the Spectacle, the often violent and oppressive social control that masquerades as a celebration of betterment by recycling pseudo-reforms, false-desires, and selective sightings of progressive evolution, never devolution. By violent I mean the willful and careless and often unnecessary disruption or extinction of the life of another, including the life of non-human species. "The spectacle is the moment when the commodity has attained the total occupation of social life" (#42). "In particular the ways in which technical development becomes a substitute for natural development (#24, 36). "Last year, Americans, who make up only five percent of the world's population, used nearly a third of its resources and produced almost half of its hazardous waste" (Affluenza, 1997). The Situationaliste answer to the ideological social control of spectacle, is festival, by which we self-manage and self-produce our own production and consumption practices. In this way we redefine our needs and desires.

Festival is the "very keynote of the life" I see beyond a critique of spectacle … Play is the ultimate principle of this festival, and the only rules it can recognize are to live without dead time and to enjoy without restraint" (Situationist Internationale, 1966: 14). Many cities and nations still conduct annual festivals, a tradition that goes back centuries in many parts of the world. Yet, the festivals have taken on thick outer spectacle shells, becoming gaudy consumption rituals, without much referentiality to what makes a festival festive in the first place. Most organizing attempts of festival find they are mutating due to their organizing situations into bizarre affairs. The Pittsburgh Irish Festival, for example, features a Bingo Tent, Dog Tents, and a Gaelic Mass. Is this a strange or suitable organization? Perhaps it is a collage of spectacles more than a festival. Or, perhaps it is the bizarre juxtaposition that keeps it festive. Festival (merged with carnival) was once about narratives and theatrics that reversed or otherwise parodied the portrait of power. On Fool’s Day, the peasants became magistrates, clergy, and nobles, while all these elites took on lesser positions. In the Tomato Festival, people tossed tomatoes at everyone and on the next day life went back to its normal spectacle routines.

The pre-capitalism festival ways of life were appropriated and transformed by spectacle capitalism. Festival has been replaced by spectacles of theatrical consumption (the mall and the stores in the mall) as well as by spectacular organizations (producers of spectacles and themselves spectacles). The peasant is everywhere, composing as much as two fifths of the world’s population, many working at slave wages to provide the spectacle to the advantaged. The peasants sit on the margins of spectacle, ready to reclaim cyclical time and local spaces, and perhaps replace spectacle with festival.

The festival has something to do with one’s conscious awareness, and with a focusing of that awareness. Festival is defined as expressing inner happiness in a context of social activity. Spectacle is defined as material displays of happiness in a context of over-consumption. When festival is more about materialism than play, self-reflection, and social commentary, it becomes disempowered, just another spectacle. When the message of festival is in the externalities the inner spirituality of the event is suspect.

Consider the similarities. Both spectacle and festival combine theatrics, storytelling, crafts, and other arts into a community of performance. Both festival and spectacle incorporate food, story, theatrics, music, art, and other entertainment. I want to open up the question of what is festival for more rigorous exploration. They are oftentimes found together, occupying the same time and place. The same work organization has both festive and spectacle garniture. Two people can be in the same organization, doing the same job, for the same boss. One sees festive situations, another sees spectacles of misery, self-indulgence, and addictions to over-production and conspicuous, even eco-destructive consumption. One will experience a sense of joy; the other will find only frustration. Manyevents with the label "festival" do not appear to be festivals at all to all of the participants. I want to show the basis of festive and spectacle processes in modern organizations.

Shakespearean Festivals, Renaissance Festivals, Craft Festivals, Harvest Festivals (dates, Chile, wine, apple, etc.), Film Festivals, and Music Festivals are all the rage. They define the community, but so do spectacles. Disneyland, modern organization spectacle defines Los Angels County, though it is locate really in Orange County. Renaissance Festivals, oftentimes, reenact 15th and 16th Century Europe as a celebration of cyclical time and a local reverence for place, even though they are reenacted outside of Europe, in places like Kansas and Idaho. Yet most of festival is not separate from spectacle. It seems every state in the Union and most countries have their festivals and their spectacles, without much differentiation between, what is one and the other.

What is a Festival Organization? - Be it simple or complex, behind the festival stalls, booths, theater, exhibitions, and merchandising, there is the festival organization, and perhaps a spectacular one masquerading as festive. Some festival organizations construct fictive fantasies of the good olds days of King Arthur Knights of the Round Table or Elizabethan splendor in a Renaissance Festival. Spectators are invited to come dressed as princesses, wenches, noblemen, and barbarians, as they enjoy the jousting and feasting. Others go to great length to make the historical period become "living history." They recreate the architecture, dress, and customs of a particular epoch. Yet, in many cases, they are no more authentic than the Pirates of the Caribbean or the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland are. The sense of "authenticity" of a festival, be it a Renaissance Faire, Shakespearean Theater, or Bluegrass Music Festival varies from one situation to the next. The name "festival" in the title of the event is not a way to tell its pedigree.

There is much contemporary spectacle mixed into the festival. For example, The Colorado Renaissance Festival advertises that for a price you and fifty guests can be part of a Royal Wedding. For just $2,500 you can have the fairy tale wedding managed by expert wedding coordinators, complete with the melodious murmur of the King’s bagpiper, escorting you to the newly refurbished Canterbury Chapel where you will be a player in an Elizabethan Wedding Ceremony. A King and Queen wedding feast follow this wedding. Costuming and wet bar are extra. Is there something in Jain philosophy that can help us sort this out?" (http://business.nmsu.edu/~dboje/papers/Festivalism_at_Work.html)

More Information

More on festivalism at http://peaceaware.com/special/1/pages/festivalism.htm

Boje, David M. (1999). Spectacle and Festival of Organization: Managing Ahimsa Production and Consumption. Book (retitled as Theatrics of Capitalism) being published by Hampton Press (expected release 2001). Available on the Web http://business.nmsu.edu/~dboje