This study examines the under-investigated cultural outcomes of small-scale festivals. Specifically, it uses Bourdieu's concept of cultural capital to explore the cultural outcomes of festival participation in rural locations, investigating if and how small-scale festivals are arenas for displaying, reinforcing, and acquiring culture. The aims were to investigate whether attendees enhance their cultural capital by participating in literary festivals and to identify the elements that play a role in this process. Interviews and observations were undertaken at two small-scale literary festivals: Listowel Writers' Week located in a rural village in the west of Ireland, and Pordenonelegge located in a small town in the north of Italy. Findings reveal that cultural capital can be reinforced, stimulated, and acquired in a process that is shaped by both internal and external elements. A new conceptual model capturing this process is presented. The model characterises the internal elements as: demographic features, behavioural dimension, enjoyment, involvement, and pre-existing capitals; and the external elements as: festival features, social context, spatial and temporal dimensions. The empirical findings show how rural literary festivals can be rewarding and fulfilling experiences that lead to individual cultural capital development. Further research is needed to examine whether the model portraying the development of cultural capital associated with literary festival participation can be applied to other types of festivals.
Oxford Brookes Business School
Year of publication: 2021Date of RADAR deposit: 2021-07-21