Fairground Architecture and Crowds

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Drawing on fieldwork at travelling fairs in England, this article uses a number of concepts—crowd crystals; involvement contours; cacophony; intercalary elements—to read the heterogeneous interrelationships between fair-going crowd dynamics and fairground architecture. The article notes an apparent lack of interest in both these entities (from crowd theory and architectural theory respectively); establishing an historiographical account of this (lack of) interest, it situates fairground crowds within and against crowd behaviour, and crowd theory, more generally; and draws on assemblage theory to develop an account of the fairgoing crowd, and fairground architecture, that is responsive to its particular characteristics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)256-286
Number of pages31
JournalArchitectural Theory Review
Issue number2
Early online date5 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - 5 Nov 2019


  • travelling fairgrounds
  • assemblage theory
  • playful crowd
  • Manuel DeLanda
  • Erving Goffman


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