Celebrating unusual events: Initiating a critical discourse

No Thumbnail Available
File version
Arcodia, Charles
Le, Truc
Griffith University Author(s)
Primary Supervisor
Other Supervisors
File type(s)

Hanoi, Vietnam


The number and variety of events which are staged around the world is staggering and there are no signs of abatement. Several categorizations have been presented which cluster events into coherent groupings based on type, as in what happens at the event, or size, as in the number of participants who attend the event. Much emphasis has been placed on the ability of events to add value to a destination which has been mostly measured by economic benefit, but increasingly, social benefit as well (Baum et al, 2013; Getz, 2012). While it can be well argued that event related research is still nascent, particularly when compared with cognate and more broadly researched areas such as tourism or hospitality, it is developing depth and breadth, evidenced by the extent of published studies which explore events from the perspective of robust disciplines such as management, marketing, sociology, psychology and more.

There has been some discussion in the literature which calls for more critical studies in the event field. For example, Lamond and Platt (2016) discuss critical approaches to event research and present a variety of studies in their edited book; Roberton, Ong, Lockstone-Binney and Ali-Knight (2018) offer an insightful introduction to critical studies followed by specific investigations by several authors; and Lamond and Moss (2020) present an introduction to liminality in critical event research followed by a number of investigations about liminality and its relationship to events.

While these contributions provide evidence of the development of a small, but increasingly influential body of knowledge firmly positioned in the genre of critical event studies, there are many gaps and hiatuses. One such gap is understanding the nature, meaning and purpose of the panoply of events which may well be described as ‘unusual’. There have been few, if any, investigations which focus on the form and purpose of events which do not conform to social mores.

This paper firstly presents some examples of unusual events by offering photographic artefacts drawn from the event experience. The events for discussion have been rather randomly chosen, but are wholly illustrative of the variety of events that currently celebrate something unusual about human reality with examples drawn from an international repertoire of urban and regional events. The discussion presents an exploratory analysis of unusual events and offers definitional statements, an attempt at meaningful categorisation, supported by a conceptual proposition.

Journal Title
Conference Title

3rd Critical Tourism Studies - Asia Pacific Conference: Tourism Metamorphosis: ​Creative Destruction and the Remaking of Tourism Geographies​ ​

Book Title
Thesis Type
Degree Program
Patent number
Grant identifier(s)
Rights Statement
Rights Statement
Item Access Status
Access the data
Related item(s)

Commerce, management, tourism and services


Tourism management

Persistent link to this record

Arcodia, C; Le, T, Celebrating unusual events: Initiating a critical discourse, 3rd Critical Tourism Studies - Asia Pacific Conference: Tourism Metamorphosis: ​Creative Destruction and the Remaking of Tourism Geographies​, 2023