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October 2021

Carnival on the clipboard: An ethnological study of New Orleans Mardi Gras

Author(s): White, C. T.

Journal/Book: Ethnology. 1999; 38: Dept Anthropology, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA. Univ Pittsburgh. 335-349.

Abstract: Ethnological methods determined that New Orleans Mardi Gras is a time for socializing with friends and family, as opposed to an opportunity to engage strangers in acts of fellowship or communitas. People prefer to be wild or silly within the confines of their own group. Outside of costumed performers or those engaged in ritualistic bead exchanges, the norms of pedestrian behavior are maintained. This study is methodologically innovative as it is the first to obtain a nonfestival baseline in order to distinguish standard, culturally appropriate behavior from that which results from a change in the normative order. Moreover, it is the first to identify the interpersonal contexts in which behavior is inverted, intensified, or remains neutral in street interactions among strangers.

Note: Article Jankowiak W, Univ Nevada, Las Vegas,NV 89154 USA

Keyword(s): carnival; communitas; ritual; New Orleans

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