chapter  2
Marginalised groups and urban festivals in São Paulo and Lisbon
Between social control, urban renewal and gentrification processes
WithPaulo Cezar Nunes, Ana Paula Cunha Pereira
Pages 19

Seeking to understand how cultural events intervene in contemporary social dynamic, this chapter focusses on processes of marginalisation at work in two urban festivals: the Mexefest (Lisbon) and Virada Cultural (São Paulo). Cultural festivals are situated at the intersection of gentrification processes, urban renewal projects and strategies of social control. Using a qualitative approach based on Actor-Network Theory, the research combines semi-structured and unstructured interviews, direct observation and documentary analysis. In this way, it attends to (1) formal events of the programme announced in both festivals and (2) pre-production meetings (media conferences, brand marketing campaigns and related forms of promotion). As a device of social control that mediates urban conflicts in their respective cities, both festivals represent more than a cultural experience. They implement cultural policies, enforce security and promote multiculturalist discourses. As such, they both facilitate and control the occupation of urban centres by marginalised social groups.