[Dancecult-l] Commercialised communitas

Graham St John g.stjohn at warpmail.net
Fri Nov 25 02:39:13 CET 2011

I guess you're describing something like the 
process Turner identified from "spontaneous" to 
the consolidation of "normative" modes of 
"communitas", i.e. in the form of a Church mass 
or seasonal "pilgrimage" or an annual festival, 
or routinised clubbing experiences, where the 
latter, when it grows too regulated, hierarchical 
and dictatorial - and we can also read here, too 
"corporate" - trigger renewed commitments to 
events free from strictures, with more autonomous 
and co-operative arrangements, and as you say, 
fan or greater user input, perhaps rendering such 
more prosumer (than consumer) experiences. These 
fledgling developments may in be commercial but 
not corporate of course, and I agree that the 
distinction is important for any serious study of 
this theme. Just on this process, with relation 
to the religious experience, which is essentially 
what Turner had in mind with communitas, and the 
experience that is harvested, corked and 
exploited by corporate clubbing cartels, Roger 
Bastide, independently (and in another language) 
offered a thesis on a similar pattern (with his 
instituent/instituted religion - see Francios 
Gauthier's work).


At 11:10 PM -0600 23/11/11, Joe A Austin wrote:
>I think there's are significant differences 
>between a commercialized communitas and a 
>corporatized communitas. There are lots of good 
>studies in which communities have turned to the 
>marketplace to construct institutionalized 
>spaces that sustain cultural affiliations. For 
>instance, Ann Enke's new book _Finding the 
>Movement_ has a chapter that explains the ways 
>that second wave feminists and lesbians in the 
>US established/appropriated bars and dancehalls 
>as a way of creating female-centered public 
>spaces of sustenance, affiliation, and community 
>joy in the 1970s; lesbian bar culture is still 
>alive. From that insight, one can step towards a 
>_lot_ of other commercialized/marketplace 
>institutions that have been created by community 
>members to facilitate their continuance, from 
>zines to artisans of all sorts, etc.
>"Corporatized communitas" seems like a very 
>different thing, something more akin to the kind 
>of appropriation that frequently occurs soon 
>after an identifiable "style" crystalizes from 
>an emerging social formation. The surfaces of 
>that style can then be sold to folks outside 
>this new community _in the fantasy_ that 
>purchases create similar social connections. But 
>as many post-Birmingham scholars have shown, 
>that fantasy often isn't long-lived unless a 
>satisfying social connection is established 
>among the consumers. The "style-surfers" move 
>onto the next waves, and the communities that 
>made lasting social connections continue, 
>validating the aesthetic/ethical/practical 
>priorities that hold them together.
>For me, the more interesting "corporatized 
>communitas" occurs around fan communities that 
>assemble themselves around corporate-originated 
>cultural forms, like particular television 
>programs, films, games, etc. But even in those 
>formations, the communitas is performed _among 
>the fans_ in the collective act of pleasure, and 
>if the corpse that created the form mistakenly 
>tries to become too directive of the fan 
>culture, it almost invariably leads to fan 
>distrust, disgust, or to re-mixed and 
>fan-produced texts. It isn't clear to me that 
>these sorts of fan communities are actually an 
>example of "corporatized communitas" -- the 
>corpses didn't actual create or even sustain the 
>social connections, except by providing the 
>opportunity for shared pleasures.
>I suppose I would want to know more about what 
>constitutes "commercial" (corporatized?) in the 
>Along with the _Nightscapes_ book below, see 
>_Fantasy City: Pleasure and Profit in the 
>Postmodern Metropolis_ by John Hannigan
>your pal, Joe Austin
>----- Original Message -----
>From: "Graham St John" <g.stjohn at warpmail.net>
>To: "Sebastien Tutenges" <tutenges at hotmail.com>, dancecult-l at listcultures.org
>Sent: Wednesday, November 23, 2011 6:52:50 PM
>Subject: Re: [Dancecult-l] Commercialised communitas
>Re: [Dancecult-l] Commercialised communitas
>Hi Sebastian
>On the specific theme of commercial or 
>corporatised communitas, there really isn't much 
>around dedicated to that subject. There is some 
>material on corporate vibes in my book 
>Technomad, and you might also check this blog 
>entry I wrote also in 2007 - as a kind of 
>companion piece to the one you refer:
>You might find this useful:
>Chatterton, Paul, and Robert Hollands. 2003. 
>Making Urban Nighscapes: Youth Cultures, Pleasure
>Spaces and Corporate Power . London: Routledge
>I look forward to reading your article.
>At 3:11 PM +0100 22/11/11, Sebastien Tutenges wrote:
>Dear all,
>We are a group of researchers in Denmark 
>interested in writings on "commercialised 
>communitas", "packaged carnival" and 
>"commodified transgression". We are aware of 
>Graham St John's brilliant article "Dionysus 
>and.html . We are also familiar with the work of 
>Ritzer, Presdee, Maffesoli, Hayward and Hobbs. 
>But there must be more literature out there 
>which takes up this important topic. In 
>particular, we would like to know if and where 
>St John has written more on this.
>Our focus is on mainstream nightlife: we are 
>doing a project on safety conditions in 
>nightlife, and we are also examining how bars 
>and nightclubs allow, promote and capitalize on 
>the Dionysian.
>I have written about this in an article that is just about to get published:
>Tutenges, S. "Stirring up effervescence: An 
>ethnographic study of youth at a nightlife 
>resort". Leisure Studies . See: 
>The article examines "party package holidays" 
>and the mind altering techniques used by guides 
>and tourists at a resort in Bulgaria called 
>Sunny Beach (akin to Ibiza, Cancun, Falariki 
>Best wishes,
>Sébastien Tutenges
>>  From: dancecult-l-request at listcultures.org
>>  Subject: Dancecult-l Digest, Vol 71, Issue 1
>>  To: dancecult-l at listcultures.org
>>  Date: Sat, 29 Oct 2011 12:00:01 +0200
>>  Send Dancecult-l mailing list submissions to
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>>  Today's Topics:
>>  1. CFP - Brian Eno edited collection (Sean Albiez)
>>  ----------------------------------------------------------------------
>>  Message: 1
>>  Date: Fri, 28 Oct 2011 13:53:09 +0100
>>  From: Sean Albiez <Sean.Albiez at solent.ac.uk>
>>  To: Dancecult-l at listcultures.org
>>  Subject: [Dancecult-l] CFP - Brian Eno edited collection
>>  Message-ID:
>>  <OF9C8C9CA0.845DDEC2-ON80257937.0046C90B-80257937.0046C90C at solent .ac.uk>
>>  Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
>>  I thought there may be one or two Danceculters interested in this,
>>  Cheers,
>>  Sean
>>  CFP - Brian Eno - edited collection
>>  On the back of his published diary (A Year 
>>with Swollen Appendices, Faber 1996) Brian Eno 
>>describes himself variously as: a mammal, a 
>>father, an artist, a celebrity, a pragmatist, a 
>>computer- user, an interviewee, and a ?drifting 
>>clarifier?. To this list we might add rock star 
>>(on the first two Roxy Music albums); the 
>>creator of lastingly influential music (Another 
>>Green World; Music for Airports); a trusted 
>>producer (for Talking Heads, U2, Coldplay and a 
>>host of other artists); the maker of 
>>large-scale video and installation artworks; a 
>>maker of apps and interactive software; and so 
>>on, and so on. All in all, he is one of the 
>>most feted and most influential musical figures 
>>of the past forty years (even though he himself 
>>has consistently downplayed his musical 
>>abilities, describing himself as an 
>>anti-musician on more than one occasion).
>>  We are inviting proposals for an essay 
>>collection on all aspects of the work of this 
>>multi-faceted cultural figure. Potential topics 
>>for investigation might include-
>>  Eno the anti-musician/ Eno the humourist.
>>  Eno?s solo albums.
>>  Eno & Gospel- Eno & spirituality.
>  > Eno & the voice.
>>  Eno & politics.
>>  Eno the futurist.
>>  Eno the arch-collaborator.
>>  Eno and the media.
>>  Eno: the Roxy years.
>>  Eno and theory.
>>  Eno and ambient music
>>  Eno and generative music.
>>  Eno the producer.
>>  Eno the multimedia artist.
>>  Proposals should be 250 words (for chapters of 
>>between 6,000-8,000 words), and should be sent 
>>  Sean Albiez sean.albiez at solent.ac.uk
>>  David Pattie: d.pattie at chester.ac.uk
>>  Deadline for proposals: 16th December 2011
>>  Deadline for completed chapters: 30th June 2012.
>>  ----------------------------------------------------------------
>>  Sean Albiez
>>  Senior Lecturer - Popular Music
>>  Southampton Solent University
>>  http://www.seanalbiez.com
>>  http://obe-lus.bandcamp.com
>>  http://soundcloud.com/obe-lus
>>  Fax: 023 8031 9828
>>  sean.albiez at solent.ac.uk
>>  ----------------------------------------------------------------
>>  Kraftwerk: Music Non Stop edited by Sean 
>>Albiez and David Pattie out now 
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