The Portable Community
Place and Displacement in Bluegrass Festival Life
This book explores the various ways in which individuals use music and culture to understand and respond to changes in their natural and built environments. Drawing on over 15 years of ethnographic fieldwork, interviews, and participant observation, the author develops the thesis that the relationships, networks, and intimate forms of social interaction in the “portable” community cultivated at bluegrass festival events are significant cultural formations that shape participants’ relationships to their localities. With specific attention to the ways in which the strength of these relationships are translated into meaningful sites of community identity, place, and action following devastating local floods that destroyed homes and businesses, displacing residents for years, The Portable Community: Place and Displacement in Bluegrass Festival Life sheds light on the strength of such communities when tested and under external threat. A study of the central role of arts and music in grappling with social and environmental change, including their role in facilitating disaster relief and recovery, this volume will appeal to scholars of sociology with interests in symbolic interactionism, the sociology of music, culture, and the sociology of disaster.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments. Introduction: The Quest for Community in Bluegrass Festival Culture 1. "Bluegrass Breakdown": A Brief Social History of Bluegrass Music and Festival Culture 2. "What Have They Done to The Old Home Place?": Family, Home, and Kinship in the "New" American West. 3. Welcome Home I: Building Place in the Bluegrass Festival Camp 4. Welcome Home II: Performing Place in the Vernacular Village 5. The Portable Community: Inclusion, Intimacy, and Simplicity in Bluegrass Festival Life 6. "The Festival World is So Much Better Than the Real World": Performing Self and Identity in Festival Spaces 7. "We’ve Got Grit": Community Resilience, Displacement, and Rebuilding After the Flood. Conclusion. Appendix A: Research Methods. Appendix B: Festival Performance as Social Drama: The Interactionism of Kenneth Burke. Index
Robert Owen Gardner is Professor and Chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Linfield College, USA.