Marketization contested: the Santa Capelina in Nice

As every 1st of May for the past 20 years, the Santa Capelina is celebrated in Nice on the Rauba Capeu. Fish soup, hand-made hats and the Santa are its main ingredients. The Batucada play all along the day giving rhythm to the celebration.

This year, hanging on a wall, a sentence remembers that “il est evident que la Santa Capelina n’est pas une marchandise” (“it is clear that the Santa Capelina is not a goods”). As I will soon discern, the troupe from a French private television who filmed for the first time the event last year, sold the images to a hotel chain. The Santa Capelina and its participants have been transformed into the testimonials of the authenticity of Nice, inviting tourists to discover the genuineness of the city. The event has been appropriated, détourné and used for one of the purposes that the event itself contests: the marketization of festive events for (tourist) consumption. Hats contesting this misappropriation appear among the others.

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