9th Conference European Sociological Association

RS12 Arts Management: Sociological Inquiries

2009-09-04 13:30:00 2009-09-04 15:00:00 Friday, 4 September 13:30 - 15:00 Institutional Structures and Practices Building AA, AA.340

Entrepreneurial agency and the case of a multi-media art director

Entrepreneurial agency and the case of a multi-media art director

Entrepreneurship is conventionally associated with starting and running a private business. It has, however, become increasingly common to use the word entrepreneurship to connect the realm of firms and small businesses to other areas of human activity, economic as well as non-economic. Entrepreneurship is, for example, associated with political and cultural discourses which promote innovative and competitive business as a metaphor and model for the organisation and also the governance of social life. In such discourses, entrepreneurship is often introduced as a generic orientation or agency which can be transported and applied well beyond the conventional boundaries of commercial business. Through this, obviously, the exact meaning of entrepreneurship has become less self-evident and susceptible to contextual variation, which calls for closer scrutiny.

In this paper we explore the construction of entrepreneurial agency in the context of art and arts management. By entrepreneurial agency we refer to the cognitive and social construct which is portrayed in the research literature on entrepreneurship, especially in the psychological stream of it. Innovativeness, pursuit of opportunities, risk-taking, alertness, etc, serve as typical criteria for such entrepreneurial agency. The individualĀ“s own activity and self-reflection as well as social environment and interaction all contribute to the construction of such an agent.

We analyse a case of an internationally known Finnish multi-media artist and director, focussing on the aspects of her self-presentation in an ethnographic interview situation. We aim to show how the construction of entrepreneurial agent is based not only on her role as a business founder and manager, but as well on the roles of artist and art director, and further, and more profoundly so, on the special way in which different roles are reconciled and managed as a whole.