Politics Behind The Mask: Studying Contemporary Carnivals in Political Perspective, Theoretical and Methodological Suggestions
Carnivals are a type of rite of renewal where mask and laughter spur the invention of highly symbolic modes of expression. They offer opportunities for the study of social representations and, since they are both recurring and changing, they constitute a ground where not only social change can be assessed, but where the meanings of social change can be best understood. The first part of this paper reviews and discusses theories of carnival, in particular those related to its relationship to power and social hierarchies. The second part proposes a few methodological suggestions for the study of carnival from a political perspective, emphasizing semiotic analysis and surveys using non-directive methods.
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