Ethnicity in Festival Landscapes: An Analysis of the Landscape of Jaialdi '95 as a Spatial Expression of Basque Ethnicity


Michael S. Yatsko

Master's Thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Virginia Tech in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of

Master of Science




Susan R. Brooker-Gross

May 8, 1997
Blacksburg, Virginia


Ethnic festivals are dynamic socio-spatial phenomena in American society in which rationalized spaces are transformed into “festival space” and the cultural landscapes within the boundaries of the festivals are transfigured into festival landscapes. The landscapes of ethnic festivals generate, via a colorful assortment of cultural performances and symbols, metaphors of ethnicity and spatial expressions of social processes which influence ethnic groups. As a metaphor of ethnicity, festival landscapes have become both a tool for the ethnic boundary maintenance of ethnic groups and a form of symbolic ethnicity for many assimilated individuals. This thesis analyzes the landscape of the Basque festival, Jaialdi ’95, as a tool for the ethnic boundary maintenance for the American Basque community and the Basque colony in Boise, Idaho, and as a form of symbolic ethnicity for assimilated American Basques.

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