Traditional Festivals

From European Ethnology to Festive Studies


  • Laurent Sébastien Fournier Aix-Marseille University



Festivals, Europe, Ethnology, Folklore, History, Tourism, Rituals, Intangible Cultural Heritage


This essay considers both the history of the growing academic field of festive studies and the history of my own involvement in this field. I first rely on some of the major works of accepted scholarship to show that social scientists and ethnologists had been concerned with festivals and public celebrations for a very long time before this field transformed into a specific area of research. I then show how my own practice in the ethnology of European traditional festivals and rituals evolved toward the idea of interdisciplinary festive studies in the two last decades or so. After connecting these two scales of time—the history of social sciences and my own path as an individual researcher—I eventually suggest possible avenues for future research in festive studies.

Author Biography

Laurent Sébastien Fournier, Aix-Marseille University

Laurent Sébastien Fournier is a French ethnologist. His PhD dissertation focused on the transformation of traditional festivals into cultural resources in Mediterranean France (1997–2002), before working on the history of European ethnology and on Scottish folklore. He has been teaching sociology and European ethnology at the Universities of Nantes (2005–15) and Aix-en-Provence (since 2015). He currently works on festivals, traditional games, and sports as intangible cultural heritage. He has edited several books and research articles on contemporary European festivals.




How to Cite

Fournier, Laurent Sébastien. 2019. “Traditional Festivals: From European Ethnology to Festive Studies”. Journal of Festive Studies 1 (1):11-26.