Space, Power, and Street Performers: The Effects of Regulation and Exclusionary Space in Victoria, B.C.

Date

2018-04-18

Authors

Giannoulis, Dimitri P.

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Abstract

The formal and informal regulation of street performers in Victoria, British Columbia, has spatial effects on the human and non-human landscapes of the city. The exclusionary space of the Lower Causeway, a predominant tourist location, is compared with the public streets of the city. The power of street performers and the profuse ways they negotiate barriers and regulations is evaluated using performativity theory. Data were collected through participant observation, semi-structured interviews, and the textual analysis of public online videos. The formal regulation of the Lower Causeway was found to be simultaneously exclusionary and inclusionary: certain street performers are alienated from the space while others benefit and depend on it for their living. A more dynamic approach to regulate the space may allow it to be more inclusive while not jeopardizing those whom depend on the space. However, formal regulation is inherently rigid and may be difficult to optimally modify.

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Keywords

street performers, performativity, regulation, exclusionary spaces, Victoria

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