PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2014, Vol. 33 ›› Issue (4): 574-583.doi: 10.11820/dlkxjz.2014.04.014

• Socio-Cultural Geography • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Construction of place identity and created folk festival:a case study of “Yuexiu Temple Fair” in Canton

LIU Bo1,2, ZHU Hong2   

  1. 1. Guangzhou Open University, Guangzhou 510091, China;
    2. Center for Cultural Industry and Cultural Geography, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, China
  • Received:2013-09-01 Revised:2014-01-01 Online:2014-04-25 Published:2014-04-25
  • Contact: 朱竑(1968- ),男,甘肃临夏人,教授,博士生导师,主要从事文化产业与文化地理研究,。

Abstract: Folk festivals usually play important roles in consolidating local groups and improving the local economy. However, various social groups who hold different opinions of the same place actively participate in the construction of local festivals, especially the created folk festivals, and therefore different place identities are represented and negotiated. The created folk festival "Yuexiu Temple Fair" is a hybridization of the Canton (Guangfu) culture and the north cultural symbol of "Temple Fair (Miaohui)" from the northern parts of China. It has acquired the official legitimacy and then been written with new meanings by various social groups who are actively engaging in the place-making process. However, "Yuexiu Temple Fair" itself is widely contested and negotiated about whether it is Canton or non-Canton. For the above reasons, a combination of research methods including participant observation, interview and literature analysis are adopted in this research for an in-depth exploration about how the different groups: the government, the media, the experts and the ordinary people-utilize the cultural representation power to express their understanding of Guangfu culture and construct place identity in the context of "Yuexiu Temple Fair". The findings are as follows: City is a conflict field where multicultural identities and place identity are negotiated and there are various cultural identities in one city. Culture is continually negotiated by different groups and there are different points of view between Guangzhou natives and newcomers and even within each group; Meanwhile, the created folk festivals become the fields in which place identity is constructed and whose place identity is represented largely depends on who can acquire the greater power of cultural representation. "Yuexiu Temple Fair" provides an opportunity for various actors to construct their imagined "Guangfu culture". More specifically, the local government leads the 1st "Yuexiu Temple Fair", the media objectively reflected the views of experts and ordinary citizen groups, and during the period, the government took an active attitude to hearken the discourse mainly on behalf of the local cultural identity. Then, native inhabitants in Canton, especially those holding opposite discourses successfully attracted more attention and the 2nd "Yuexiu Temple Fair" is full of "Guangfu taste". Thus the place identity of Guangzhou natives is represented in the "Yuexiu Temple Fair". Unfortunately, the newcomers did not make their opinions public and some newcomers even felt being marginalized, so the "Yuexiu Temple Fair" may not enhance their identity to the place. In addition, the experts are relatively independent and more like bystanders of "Yuexiu Temple Fair" instead of cooperating with the government. This study improves understanding of the role that the created folk festivals play in the construction of place identity theoretically and also has a positive implication for guiding the city using festivals to improve cultural infusion of different groups and enhance their place identity in practice.

Key words: cultural politics, folk festival, Guangzhou, place identity

CLC Number: 

  • F59