Performing power: local politics and the Taunton pageant of 1928

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Public drama and civic ceremony play a significant role in the construction and reproduction of the discursive framework within which local power structures operate. The role of civic ceremony and pageantry in late Medieval Europe has been well documented while cultural and historical geographers have recently begun to explore the political significance of modern carnivals and parades, contesting the meaning of public drama. This paper seeks to extend this analysis by discussing the political discourses embodied in the Parkerian pageants of the early twentieth century, with particular reference to the Taunton Pageant of 1928. By incorporating elements of ritual, spectacle and carnival, the Taunton Pageant promoted discourses of continuity and community which sought to reinforce the position of the local elite at a time of political instability and to reinforce conservative hegemony in mid twentieth-century rural Britain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-74
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Historical Geography
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 1999


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