Kanda’s Grounds and the Ritual Experience of Rural Cinema in Narok, Kenya
This chapter examines the audience reception patterns of rural cinema in Narok, Kenya. It focuses on the Kanda’s Grounds experience of open-air cinema between the late 1970s and the mid-1990s. This experience is compared to, and discussed in the context of, ritual and social performance. The chapter describes the actual patterns that defined the engagement between the audiences and the cinema shows at Kanda’s Grounds, particularly in relation to Victor Turner’s (The Forest of Symbols: Aspects of Ndembu Ritual. Ithaca; London: Cornell University Press, 1974) view of ritual as a mechanism of playing out social dramas. The fieldwork experience is guided by a purposive sampling technique. Through unstructured interviews and focused group discussions, the respondents recall memories of the rural cinema reception experience, which they reconstruct in oral testimonies. An analytical review of these oral testimonies is carried out in the context of Arjun Appadurai’s (Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization. Minneapolis; London: University of Minnesota Press, 1996) view that local audiences of global electronic media participate in global culture through their participant reception of these media. It is established that the audience reception experience is adapted in a process of negotiating social identities.
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