Spaces of transgression: governance, discipline and reworking the carnivalesque


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Ravenscroft, Neil and Gilchrist, Paul (2009) Spaces of transgression: governance, discipline and reworking the carnivalesque Leisure Studies, 28 (1). pp. 35-49. ISSN 1466-4496

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In this essay we seek to engage with the emerging research agenda related to the analysis of deviant activities performed in times and spaces conventionally associated with leisure. Using a reading of Mikhail Bakhtin’s seminal work on the governmental structures informing medieval festivals, we suggest that much leisure research has misunderstood the role of deviance in the performance of social relations. Rather than the superficial commodification arguments routinely advanced on behalf of Bakhtin, we argue that his work reveals a much deeper message about the hegemonic regulatory function performed by the licensing of deviant practices within such festivals. With reference to the contemporary example of the regulation of public sexual practices, we argue that the public legitimation (and relaxed policing) of private ‘deviance’ (performed in public places) is a cornerstone of the enduring governmental tactics used to licence illicit behaviours according to strict temporal and spatial boundaries. We conclude that Bakhtin’s work remains highly relevant to the deconstruction of contemporary social relations, but through the analysis of, for example, the ‘playful deviance’ of illicit sexual practice, rather than through simplistic comparisons of medieval and contemporary festivals.

Item Type: Journal article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Bakhtin; canivalesque; deviance; liminality
Subjects: L000 Social Sciences > L300 Sociology
L000 Social Sciences > L900 Cultural Studies
L000 Social Sciences > L700 Human and Social Geography
L000 Social Sciences > L300 Sociology > L311 Sport and Leisure
DOI (a stable link to the resource): 10.1080/02614360802127243
Faculties: Faculty of Education and Sport > Chelsea School
Faculty of Science and Engineering > School of Environment and Technology > Society, Space and Environment
Depositing User: Chelsea editor
Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2009
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2015 11:59

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