In Autumn 2020, DOAJ will be relaunching with a new website with updated functionality, improved search, and a simplified application form. More information is available on our blog. Our API is also changing.

Hide this message

Au parc par temps de fête : Fêtes étatiques et performances publiques à Pékin aujourd'hui

L'Espace Politique. 2016;30 DOI 10.4000/espacepolitique.3949


Journal Homepage

Journal Title: L'Espace Politique

ISSN: 1958-5500 (Online)

Publisher: Université de Reims Champagne-Ardennes

LCC Subject Category: Political science: Political science (General)

Country of publisher: France

Language of fulltext: French, English

Full-text formats available: PDF, HTML, XML



Lisa Richaud


Double blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 24 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

Through an interdisciplinary approach, this paper explores the spatialization of state festivals in contemporary Beijing. Soon after the People's Republic of China was proclaimed in 1949, Party leaders redefined the temporal order by establishing May Day and October 1st (national day) as the main socialist holidays. During the Mao ear, these temporalities entailed mass festivities which were loudly celebrated in the capital's most emblematic open spaces: in Tian'anmen, as well as in the former imperial domains that were converted into public parks during the Republican era (1911-1949). Since the launching of the Reform in 1978, mass mobilizations have largely declined, and the State has mostly ceased to coordinate popular celebrations. In this context, the informal public performances of retirees in the city's parks on these particular days deserve careful attention. As individuals who came of age or grew up during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), their experience of these temporalities has been marked by the culture of visual and sonorous display typical of the Mao era. Drawing on recent ethnographic material, I show how these gatherings tend to sensorially recreate, in some of the former sites of celebration, a festive time-space, while the retirees I observed reappropriate these temporalities for their own ends. These activities, albeit unproblematically recurring during the rest of the year, increasingly encounter regulations that limit the possibility for these performances to take place on these specific days. Interactions between retirees and park authorities reveal diverging perceptions regarding which modes of presence are deemed appropriate during festivals.