My second area of interest looks remarkably similar to an earlier correspondent: ‘days’ of national significance (i.e. Anzac Day, Australia Day, Melbourne Cup Day) as well as ‘days’ with special importance to particular ethnic or religious groups (i.e. St Patrick’s Day and Diwali). This allows exploration around neo-Durkheimian ideas of social cohesion, neo-Marxist ideas of dominance and hegemony, and so on. I’m also fascinated by the use of public space, symbols, music and songs during civic rituals, whether that be through street parades, mass assemblies, and the like. These ‘days’ and ‘events’ may contribute to broader notions of citizenship and community, but equally they may constrain or disassociate ‘others’. This all depends on context, of course, but the key point here is that there is no natural essence about civic ritual and ceremony; they may include and exclude, and they may be widely accepted or avidly contested. Finally, I am also interested in the organisation (policing and crowd management) and the engagement of crowds (leadership, charisma, entertainment) at such events, as well as media interpretations of a relationship between spectacle and audience. This means research into the underlying logistics of spectacle, but also ways in which a civic ceremony may be stage-managed to suit particular interests.

Cheers, Daryl

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