Leonore van den Ende – Festivals as innovative spaces for sustainability transition

Leonore van den Ende
VU University of Amsterdam

Festivals as innovative spaces for sustainability transition


While ritual studies generally focus on temporary, singular and out-of-the ordinary events, practice studies have been primarily concerned with ongoing, everyday activity. On the other hand, the “everyday” itself is punctuated with liminal or set-apart moments, whose explanation does not fit easily into a practice theory that has often prioritized routine or habitual action. In this conceptual paper, we propose that bringing practice theory into ritual studies permits theorizing of the situated and strategic ways in which agents enact meanings and realities, while bringing rituals into practice theory illuminates how those agents often create moments of the extra-ordinary that punctuate everyday practice. The current theoretical paper draws together theorizing around rituals and practice to answer the question; ‘What is the connection between ritual and practice and what are the theoretical implications of establishing this connection?’ The contribution of our theorizatio is twofold. First, by shifting the understanding from ritual as an autonomous phenomenon towards ritual as a practice – i.e. ‘ritualization’ – we demonstrate that ritual is, at its core, something that actors do. Secondly, we contribute to practice theory by delineating ritualization as an activity that strategically differentiates itself from other practices in a shared field and describe how it does so; namely via (1) temporal and spatial demarcation, (2) performative action, and (3) aestheticization.

Biography of the author:

Leonore van den Ende (PhD) is an assistant professor at the department of organization sciences at the VU University of Amsterdam. She is an organization anthropologist conducting qualitative-ethnographic research on (inter)organisational events and projects, with a theoretical focus on temporality, ritualization, transformation and co-creation. She has published in outlets such as International Journal of Project Management, International Journal of Change Management, the Journal of Organizational Ethnography and several edited books.