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Our Research Catalogue contains grants and outputs data up to the end of April 2014. Records will no longer be updated after this date.

Collective participation and social identification: A study of the individual, interpersonal and collective dimensions of attendance at the Magh Mela.

Grant reference: RES-062-23-1449

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Conference paper/presentation details

The impact of collective participation on identity, beliefs and wellbeing : a multi-method investigation of the Indian Magh Mela festival
Conference presentation to International Society of Political Psychology (San Francisco, 7th – 10th July, 2010). The present paper reports the application of a ground-breaking cross-cultural social identity approach to understanding the impact of participation in large-scale collective events. It takes as its focus the annual Magh Mela festival in India where every year tens of millions of pilgrims come to bathe at the banks of the holy river Ganges –in effect this is the largest gathering in the world. Specifically it examines the experience of ‘kalpvasis’, those pilgrims from across India who camp together in basic conditions for the month long duration of the festival, sharing an austere ritualised lifestyle based on Hindu religious principles. Using a triangulation of methods, including a culturally adapted survey, ethnography, indepth interviews and innovative field-experimental techniques, the preliminary results afford a modelling of the impact of experiencing this religious event on the identity processes of kalpvasis. The findings indicate a rich interrelation between the positivity of pilgrims’ experience and their perceptions of a shared identity with others, their social relations with fellow pilgrims, their physical and mental wellbeing as well as their broader social values. The implications of the results for the understanding of the transformative power of collective experience at individual and group level is discussed.
English

Primary contributor

Author Clifford Stevenson

Additional contributors

Co-author Sammyh Khan
Co-author Kavita Pandey
Co-author Shail Shankar
Co-author Tushar Singh
Co-author Shruti Tewari

Additional details

An oral presentation on our preliminary approach to the effects of collective participation presented to an international audience of academics from various disciplines.
07 July 2010
International Society of Political Psychology annual scientific meeting
San Francisco, CA
33rd
07 July 2010

Cite this outcome

Harvard

Stevenson, Clifford et al The impact of collective participation on identity, beliefs and wellbeing : a multi-method investigation of the Indian Magh Mela festival. International Society of Political Psychology annual scientific meeting, 33rd, San Francisco, CA, 2010.

Vancouver

Stevenson Clifford et al. The impact of collective participation on identity, beliefs and wellbeing : a multi-method investigation of the Indian Magh Mela festival. International Society of Political Psychology annual scientific meeting, 33rd, San Francisco, CA, 2010.