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Title: Two-tier festivals in Senegal between the local and the international : a case study of the 'festival internacional de folklore et de percussion' in Louga (Senegal)
Author: Sendra Fernandez, Estrella
ISNI:       0000 0004 7656 0872
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis is a theoretical analysis drawing on immersive ethnographic methods relating to the phenomenon of festivalisation in Senegal, with a particular focus on the Festival International de Folklore et de Percussion (FESFOP) in Louga. Following a long history of festivities in the country, which date from the precolonial period, and the celebration of the Premier Festival Mondial de Arts Nègres in Dakar in 1966, Senegal has experienced an increasing festivalisation. The 1966 Festival was celebrated under the patronage of first president of independent Senegal, Léopold Sédar Senghor, as a state-funded initiative, and thus as a political project. Later, festivalisation would undergo an increasing detachment from the state. In the twenty-first century, as cultural actors took the lead on festivalisation and a large number of festivals proliferated across the country, festival organisers had to seek alternative funding sources and formulas in order to achieve sustainability. The second Reform of the Law of Decentralisation took place in 1996. It aimed to transfer power and foster local development by dispersing economic, social, political and cultural activity from the capital of Dakar across different geographic regions. The political application of the Law has been challenging. However festivalisation in Senegal – led not by the state but by committed individuals from across the country – has increasingly contributed to the implementation of the cultural decentralisation. In line with the festival scene worldwide, which has experienced internationalisation since the 1990s, in Senegal, since the year 2000, festivals have also started to be conceived internationally. However, they have also been created with a strong attachment to the local roots. I refer to these as 'two-tier festivals,' to stress their multifaceted conception, as having both international and local scope. In this thesis, I have sought to explore precisely that 'two-tier' conception and its variety of implications for the festival programme but also for people's experiences of festivals. In particular, I was interested in examining the different ways in which the local and the international frameworks were understood by those who participate in the festival, such as curators and other organisers, sponsors, performing artists, and audiences, and how they were reflected through the temporal and spatial dimensions of the festival. By analysing the case study of the Festival International de Folklore et de Percussion (FESFOP) in Louga, which could be considered one of the first 'two-tier festivals,' created in the year 2000, this thesis contributes vital new research into festivalisation in Senegal. It further contributes to festival studies by emphasising the importance of studying rural festivals, since festivals have overwhelmingly been treated as urban phenomena in the scholarship. Based on research influenced by ethnographic methods, conducted between October 2015 and September 2016, and a variety of other research methods, this thesis offers a novel approach to understanding the role of rural festivals in festivalisation. In exploring FESFOP, based in a rural region in northern Senegal, and thus rooted within its territory, yet partly framed as international, this thesis questions the relations between the festival and local development, and the variety of complexities and factors these relations entail. By looking at the spatial and temporal dimensions of FESFOP, the thesis reveals that festivals have a social, economic and cultural impact that supersedes the festival event and further forges different forms of local development. This thesis thus aims to contribute to (African) festival studies, (African) cultural studies, and creative industries studies. It also aims to make a specific contribution to Senegalese cultural studies.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral