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Title: Perchten and Krampusse : living mask traditions in Austria and Bavaria
Author: Carter, Molly
ISNI:       0000 0004 5992 155X
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2016
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Two centuries-old mask traditions native to Austria and Bavaria enjoy ongoing popularity due to a creative mingling of old and new elements (heavy metal music and fireworks alongside hand-carved wooden masks and birch rod switches). The Krampus is the menacing companion of St. Nikolaus, who visits children on December 5 and 6, although nowadays groups of Krampusse may appear alone. The Perchten, who are associated with the magical female folk-figure Perchta, appear on January 5 and the week before. While the Perchten and Krampusse represent distinct traditions, their history has intersected at various points, and their contemporary manifestations share many elements, including a movement towards a “modern” aesthetic and the employment of such resources as tourist publicity and the internet to promote their appearances, educate the public, and network with each other. While the house visit was formerly the primary setting for these masked figures (or mummers), today it is the public parade. These parades, while rooted in and resembling conventional display-custom performances marked by a static division between performer and spectator, actually consist of a kind of fluid, interactive ritual theater in which the partially improvised, partially scripted performances of masked figures and the responses of spectators shape one another. Contemporary manifestations of Perchten and Krampus traditions will be explored in light of the ongoing cultural dialogue between performers and non-performers who seek to define and interpret the tradition, and the interplay of academic and popular discourses surrounding invented tradition, Folklorismus (folklorism) and Rücklauf (feedback), and the nature of authenticity. Questions of cultural heritage “ownership” surface in the debates over form and meaning, while in the hands of the Perchten and Krampusse themselves, tradition emerges as an active process and collaborative artwork rather than a fixed commodity with boundaries which can be defined and navigated by outside observers.
Supervisor: Andrew, Smith Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available