Laurent S. Fournier – France: Resisting the Pandemia Through Festivals and Rituals

Laurent S. Fournier
IDEMEC UMR 7307 CNRS Aix-Marseille-University

France: Resisting the Pandemia Through Festivals and Rituals


Since 2020 the pandemic has caused the cancellation of most public holidays. It is therefore legitimate to wonder what alternatives are imagined to resist this situation. Starting from the point of view that festive rituals are of great importance for collective socialization, social and cultural anthropologists do not wish to adopt a normative point of view. Rather, they wish to recall that, although festive rituals in a modern context had very often become supports for marketing or promoting places for tourism, they nevertheless retained a popular base which guaranteed their value and their success. In the absence of popular participation in the festive rituals, what happens? The observations made since 2020 indicate different possibilities of alternative ritualization: tiny or intimate parties, clandestine parties, ephemeral parties, framed parties take every possible opportunity to maintain a threatened sociability. The presentation will consider in turn the case of traditional festivals and that of contemporary festive events. The notions of celebration and ritual will be explored at various scales, between individual performances and collective belonging.

Biography of the author:

Laurent Sébastien Fournier is Assistant Professor in cultural anthropology at Aix-Marseille-University, France, where he is the Director of the Department of Anthropology. As a researcher, he belongs to the IDEMEC research unit (UMR 7307 CNRS-AMU). He has worked on rituals and festivals in Europe and on traditional sports and games. He is the president of the Eurethno network (Council of Europe) and a former executive member of the Société Internationale d’Ethnologie et de Folklore (Ritual Year Working Group, Francophone Working Group, Cultural Heritage and Property Working Group).