Dag van de Sociologie location:Leuven date:28 May 2008
There is a general consensus that the rapid development of immigrant entrepreneurship, especially in the commodification of ethnic-cultural-religious symbols, has shaped urban landscapes, transforming them into ethnoscapes (Appadurai 1990) or ethnic precincts (Collins 2006) of leisure and consumption (Conforti 1996; Shaw, Bagwell & Karmowska 2004; Rath 2007; Pang & Rath 2007; Taylor 2000). The transformation of cultural diversity does not only affect commodities such as food, clothing (Bachu 2004), etc. or neighbourhoods but it applies also to events such as reshaping traditional cultural-religious festivals, conventionally confined to the own ethnic-cultural-religious group for the cultural consumption of others, including the majority group and other minorities. This paper elucidates this process through the ethnographic analysis of two cultural-religious festivals: the celebration of the Birthday of Buddha and the Ganesh Festival. These festivals unfold annually in the multicultural city of Antwerp. Besides thick description, the two events will be critically embedded in the current theoretical discussion on fragmentation and transnational flows in social sciences (Anderson 1990; Appadurai 1990; Bauman 2004).