Masquerade Politics (Hardcover)

Explorations in the Structure of Urban Cultural Movements

By Abner Cohen

University of California Press, 9780520078383, 180pp.

Publication Date: April 13, 1993

Other Editions of This Title:
Hardcover (1/6/1993)

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Carnival, that image of sensuous frivolity, is shown by Abner Cohen to be a masquerade for the dynamic relations between culture and politics. His masterful study details the transformation of a local, polyethnic London fair to a massive, exclusively West Indian carnival, known as "Europe's biggest street festival," which in 1976 occasioned a bloody confrontation between black youth and the police and which has since become a fiercely contested cultural event.

Cohen contrasts the development of the London carnival with the development of other carnivalesque movements, including the Renaissance Pleasure Faire of California. His valuable analysis of these relatively little-explored urban cultural movements advances further the theoretical formulations developed in his previous studies.

About the Author

Abner Cohen is Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at the University of London. California published three of his earlier books: The Politics of Elite Culture (1981), Two-Dimensional Man (1974), and Custom and Politics in Urban Africa (1969).