Drawing on rich insights from cultural, post-structural and postcolonial studies, this book demands that we rethink Carnival and the carnivalesque as not just celebratory moments or even as critical subtext, but also as insightful performatives of social life anywhere, given the entangled times and spaces of these performances. The authors review Carnival’s performative aspects not merely as a calendrical festival, but rather center attention on the relationship between carnival and everyday life, and on how people negotiate their social spaces and possibilities in the context of modern power. The book therefore seeks to highlight the knotted time-spaces of power and to demonstrate the dynamic interplay between state spaces and people’s spaces that are being weaved by carnival's interlocutors. It demonstrates how Carnival and the Carnivalesque become analytic optics through which the relations of power in the social and political life of subjects who seek to tacitically or strategically vary their given identities, can be productively engaged.
This book was originally published as a special issue of Social Identities: Journal for the Study of Race, Nation and Culture.