Temporary communitas at an iconic cricket event : an ethnographic study

Lockstone-Binney, Leonie and Mair, Judith and Baum, Tom and Ong, Faith (2022) Temporary communitas at an iconic cricket event : an ethnographic study. Event Management, 26 (5). pp. 979-992. ISSN 1525-9951

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The nature of events demand uniqueness and memorability, but the specific elements of experience that produce these have not been deeply examined, particularly over the course of the event experience. Much of this relies heavily on event places and the social relations they facilitate. This research used the concept of temporary communitas and built on the Event Experience Scale (EES) through an ethnographic study of an iconic multi-day, spectator driven sporting event. Solicited participant diaries of eight friends and family who travelled to attend the 2017 Boxing Day Ashes Test in Melbourne, Australia, were collected pre, during and post-event to capture the event experience as it emerged over time. Qualitative analysis of the ethnographic accounts revealed four event experience themes (competition, emotions and atmosphere, special experience and interactions), which collectively were connected to a strong sense of temporary communitas. These themes were evident across the event cycle, providing insight into the nuances of the event experience, and highlighting the importance of understanding the social relations generated in the event place pre- and post-event. Consequently, it is suggested that revision to the existing EES instrument is required to more comprehensively assess for temporary communitas as part of the event experience. Future studies could usefully test the factor structure of the EES with and without the suggested additional temporary communitas items and compare both models on the basis of their reliability and validity.