9th Conference European Sociological Association

RS12 Arts Management: Sociological Inquiries

2009-09-03 09:00:00 2009-09-03 10:30:00 Thursday, 3 September 09:00 - 10:30 Theoretical and Epistemological Considerations Building AA, AA.340

Organisations and Arts Organisations

Over the last 20 years, the mainstream arts administration literature has tried to apply general themes and techniques from business administration and management studies. Leadership skills, financing, organizational planning, distribution and marketing are the principle issues of standard arts administration publications, often labelled as "arts-marketing", "arts-sponsoring" or "arts-project management".

It has been only on rare occasion that authors have radically questioned the appropriation of managerial tools from the business sector into arts management, and if such tools are indeed suitable for arts institutions such as theatres, opera houses, museums or festivals. Can an artistically driven production process, such as creating an opera, be "managed" using business - centric managerial tools, which refer to linear, decomposable production processes? Or, rather, are creative processes open, iterative, recursive and non-linear and therefore not plan-able? Art Organisations have different aims, and therefore operate with a different "logic". How does this logic operate? And how can art administrators cope with this altered "logic" in theory and practice?

The Paper will investigate the questions mentioned above. Firstly we will examine the specifics of art organisations - in comparison to other organisations such as corporations - by focusing on its aims, its modes of production and its organizational sociology. These observations shall be done from the perspective of social systems theory (also known as self organisation theory, referential authors include: Niklas Luhmann, Dirk Baecker, Karl Weick, Hermann Haken), because the theory is used in management and organisation theory as well as in sociology and art theory. The systems theoretical approach acts as a quintessential comparative device, since it operates within the same conceptual framework and definitions allowing one to examine different fields on equal footing.

Second the author will show, how a new understanding of arts management is emerging from a sociological perspective rather than from business administration.
Thirdly there will be a brief introduction on the theoretical development of arts administration within German speaking countries, as well as contemporary debates, which focus on a new understanding of the term "management" in arts management and arts administration.