Homo Eventi: Postmodern Citizen between Cultural Experiences and New Forms of Participation in Collective Life
Sciences of communication Lumsa University Rome, Italy
The diffusion of cultural events, rituals and public celebrations seems the direct consequence of postmodernity that sees represented in the events its founding principles: as presentification, the importance of the emotional dimension, the culture of loisir, tribalism etc.. (Morin, 1963; Maffesoli, 2004, Jameson, 2007).
The success of the public that these initiatives recover, pushing the sociological reflection to go beyond the need for entertainment these initiatives seem to satisfy, to investigate what expectations and what needs of contemporary events actually meet.
To examine these aspects have been carried out two field surveys involving the public of two of the most significant cultural events that take place every year in different European cities: the "White night" of Rome and Paris and the "Europe Day" in Rome.
Through the administration of structured questionnaires, we tried to investigate:
1) What represent for the collective imagination of the public the participation in these initiatives,
2) how these events help to reinforce a sense of belonging among members of a community and encourage dialogue between cultures;
3) how are changing the usual practices and cultural habits of the public since the forms of culture "traditional" have been replaced by cultural events.
The main findings from two surveys showed that for the general public participation in these collective rituals, beyond what Maffesoli defines "community desire": that is phenomena of collective celebration of being together without claiming to create lasting bonds where is a rejection of the institutional. Infact:
1) firstly, the participation in events creates the illusion that it is free and that everyone can participate in these initiatives and experience according to your taste or culture of their own way, in fact the function of social control by of new cultural industries appears invisible, but nevertheless this is a strong;
2) second, the public seems to transcend the mere "want to be," and considers these events as an opportunity to come together in a shared space such as that of their city back to a "public sphere" and to rediscover their sense of belonging to community through a ritual very similar to those analyzed by Durkheim