The impact of festival participation on ethnic identity: The case of Yi Torch Festival
School of Business and Law
© 2020 Cognizant, LLC. This study examines the impact of ethnic festival participation on community members' ethnic identity. Applying the Multigroup Ethnic Identity Measure (MEIM) in a questionnaire survey administered to the Yi ethnic community members attending a Yi Torch Festival in Sichuan Province, China, the study identifies that the festival attendees' ethnic identity is reflected in two dimensions: ethnic identity commitment and ethnic identity exploration. Independent sample t tests show that there is no difference of ethnic identity commitment between the performers' group and the spectators' group in the festival; however, performers as active participants of the festival score much higher on ethnic identity exploration than spectators. Practical festival management implications are discussed. This study has the following contributions. First, it validated the dimensionality and measurement stability of MEIM, in the context of ethnic festivals. Second, this study extends the application of MEIM from the fields of anthropology and ethnology to festival studies. This is the first study applying MEIM in festival research. It demonstrates the applicability of the MEIM scale in studying ethnic festivals. Lastly, this study expanded the knowledge on the relationship between festival participation and ethnic identity. It evidenced through empirical analysis that active participation in ethnic festivals by ethnic community members can effectively contribute to the ethnic identity of the community members, especially on the exploration dimension of ethnic identity.