In “Carnival and Carnivalesque” Mikhail Bakhtin describes how starting from the 17th century the popular carnival life began to disappear. ENG | S Carnivalesque. For the literary theorist and philosopher. Mikhail Bakhtin. 1. The carnival was not only liberating because. – for that short period. Bakhtin’s concept of carnival laughter can be read as a subversive attack on In other words, in the carnivalesque game of inverting official values he sees the.

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This style transgresses the boundaries between bodily life and the field of art, bringing bodily functions into the field of art. If an extract of a symphony is used in an advertisement, this tune will be tarnished and although it used to be considered as related to high culture, the masterpiece will probably loss a bit of its symbolical value.

Carnivalesque – Wikipedia

Other related phenomena, such as holi in India, also persist. Carnival contains a utopian promise for human emancipation through the free expression of thought and creativity.

The Carnival crnival many voices at once. It also celebrates incompleteness, transgression and the disruption of expectations. Share on Twitter Tweet.

It is also simultaneously ecological and social, absorbing the self in a network of relations. Theories with an affirmative view of contingency tend to share with Bakhtinian carnival a belief in an eternal creative force which unfolds in difference — active force in Deleuze and Nietzsche, constitutive power in Negri, the instituting imaginary in Castoriadis and so carnuvalesque.

Theories with a negative view, in contrast, believe in an eternal need for order which is constantly threatened by the contingent nature of existence. The Carnival of Rio may be a popular event but it is a show where casual people do not participate.

While state regulation is a problem, such events still provide platforms for alternative visions and for political critique. In capitalism, the body breaks away from the generating earth and people. Why is contingency not universally celebrated, in a carnivalesque spirit?

Cultural Reader: Mikhail Bakhtin: “Carnival and Carnivalesque” – summary and review – part 3

Because networks and connections continue to be performed in a space of dialogical immanence, the loss of transcendence is not a loss bkahtin meaning, life, or social being. It should be added, however, that not every carnivalesque act is emancipatory, because sometimes, it can disinhibit reactive desires arising from the system.


Thus the outsidedness of groups marginalised by a dominant ideology within non-carnival time not only gain a voice during carnival time, but they also say something about the ideology that seeks to silence them. These notions are tainted carhival Marxist theories, with the idea of challenging the power, like in The Island of Slaves Mariveaux,a play about servants and masters, on a desert island where a group of slaves decide to take the power.

It is a brief moment in which life escapes its official furrows and enacts utopian freedom. But the spectacle is not the life, it is his inversion. At one level, racial abuse is transgressive of liberal normsbut on another, it reproduces dominant structures of underlying racism.


Our civilization is built upon both high and low culture and we need tools to understand the link between these two notions. Writing on the Body: Today, a genre similar to carnivalesque appears in shows such as South Park and Monty Python. The popular tradition of carnival was believed by Bakhtin to carry a particular wisdom which can be traced back to the ancient world. Because the Carnival was an inversion of the typical relationships during the rest of the year, what was celebrated were those things there were typically held in suspicion by the church and the king.

It creates a zone in which new birth or emergence becomes possible, against the sterility of dominant norms which in their tautology, cannot cretae the ccarnival.

It ane be seen as an infantilization of the body. The Practice of Everyday Life. New Perspectives on the Public Sphere. The term “carnivalesque” refers to the carnivalizing of normal life. This process is ‘multiply enriching’ Ibidit opens new possibilities for each culture, reveals hidden ‘potentials’ Ibid.

Humour is counterposed to the seriousness of officialdom in such a way as to subvert it. Also, carnivals did, in fact, crnivalesque pass over into rebellion. December Learn how and when to remove this template message.


We live in an atomized society of abundance, of accumulation, which tends to obscenity, in Latin, ob scene, behind the scene. All of this is done in a mood of celebration and laughter. The Bakhtin Circle and Social Theory. Time and space are rearranged in ways which show their contingency and indissolubility. Such displays are similar to true carnival in their excess carnnival expressiveness, but they ultimately uphold the transcendentalism of the in-group through transgressions which reinforce their privilege at the expense of an out-group.

Bakhtin’s carnival applied to contemporary culture

It lowers the spiritual and abstract to the material level. Bakhtin believes that the grotesque is counterposed to the classical aesthetic of ready-made, completed being.

They show its contingency by exposing it to ridicule and distortion. It creates a situation in which diverse voices are heard and interact, breaking down conventions and enabling genuine dialogue. Everything must be re-examined as a product of its own context. Carnival bridges the gap between holism which necessarily absorbs its other and the imperative to refuse authority which necessarily restores exclusions: The immediate goal of Rabelais and His World is to uncover the peculiar language and practices of the carnival environment.

Moreover, it is much more complicated to inverse the notions of high and low currently because they tend to disappear with postmodernism.

Utopia Modernity and the Carnivalesque. An other taboo is talking about diseases because it reminds us that we will die one day. Anonymous March 12, at 7: In our society, carnival and the grotesque do not have the same meaning than they used to have but still, these concept help us to understand what is problematic in our culture.

Statements consisting only of original research should be removed.