The Seville Feria. A Sold-Out People’s Festival
Although the Seville Fair is part of a lively tradition of popular festivals, it clearly distinguishes itself from others of its kind on account of its very exclusive nature. The festival is organised around casetas, small traditional-style fabric houses, the vast majority of which are private (only 1.7% of the 1,052 casetas are open to the public). Because it is a site of social exclusivity par excellence, a place for upholding family social capital (sometimes across several generations), the fair challenges the democratic society and triggers controversy and debate, especially when it comes to its management by the municipality. Its model of a sold-out party has also given birth to the phenomenon of a counter-feria, which developed during the moment of democratic transition around organisations of political opposition. Offering a history of the feria that splits up the group, that strips away its illusion and reinscribes it in the social and political trajectories of the individuals and groups that participate in it transforms this prominent object of local chronicles and tourist brochures into an object of social science that enables the examination of social and political networks.