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  • Atmospheres of Belonging? Exploring Ambient Power Through Manchester’s Craft Beer Festivals

    Chloe Steadman, Anna de Jong

    Chapter from the book: Smith, A et al. 2022. Festivals and the City: The Contested Geographies of Urban Events.

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    City atmospheres are increasingly engineered through multi-sensory manipulations to render places attractive in a competitive global landscape. Reflecting the wider ‘festivalisation of cities’, cultural festivals play an important role in generating such urban atmospheres. However, as Allen’s concept of ‘ambient power’ recognises, spaces and places can (co)produce seductive ambiences of inclusion by insidiously working on people’s senses, in ways that extend belonging to some, whilst leading certain undervalued social groups to feel excluded. This chapter explores atmosphere, ambient power, and (not) belonging through two craft beer festivals in Manchester, U.K, through engagement with participant observations and over 5,000 social media posts, photographs and videos. We reveal how craft beer festival atmospheres are informed by pre-existing power relations, past experiences, and anticipations; informing – and informed by ­– a broader urban politics of belonging. And yet, we also illustrate how inclusions and exclusions of specific festivals are not fixed or predetermined; rather, the dynamic spatial, temporal, and multi-sensory affordances of each craft beer festival also influence the ways through which belonging unfolds differently. Taking insights from both cases, the chapter concludes by reflecting on how more inclusive urban atmospheres might be crafted.

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    How to cite this chapter
    Steadman C. & de Jong A. 2022. Atmospheres of Belonging? Exploring Ambient Power Through Manchester’s Craft Beer Festivals. In: Smith, A et al (eds.), Festivals and the City. London: University of Westminster Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.16997/book64.g
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    Published on Aug. 23, 2022

    DOI
    https://doi.org/10.16997/book64.g