Imagine.. seminar by Carmelo Mazza - THE EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED

Dancing around a cultural site: Context, actors and the (invented) tradition of a festival.

Friday, March 22, 2013 - 12:00 to 14:00

A cultural site is a perfect object to study how arts and management may collide. Within the New Institutional approach to organizations studies, competing or multiple institutional logics have been largely referred as triggers for these clashes (Greenwood and Suddaby, 2006; Thornton, Ocasio and Lounsbury, 2012). Variety of strategic action by the professional groups, leading to different institutional work (Lawrence and Suddaby, 2006; Lawrence, Suddaby and Leca, 2009), have been also referred upon as a key factor explaining conflicts.
Those approaches tend to investigate contexts where well established professional groups are in action. This is very often the case of well acknowledged cultural settings. In this paper, I propose to look at a different context where weak ties among loosely coupled cultural organizations, local administration and other local actor prevail: the Basilica di San Michele Arcangelo at Monte Sant’Angelo (Apulia, Italy) in 2011 included in UNESCO World Heritage List (WHL). Including a site in UNESCO WHL can be a main institutional accomplishment for a small village in the South of Italy. It also requires a novel attention to cultural projects and events and a new model of partnership among local administrations and cultural institutions. In this paper, I use the inclusion within WHL as the arena where relations among existing institutional actors in cultural field are reconfigured and new institutional actors emerge, get institutionalized and become a tradition.
In particular, I focus my research attention on the institutional logics and institutional works paving the way to the emergence of a novel cultural organization that became in a few years the champion of the new cultural projects and events in WHL site. It is the case of the rise and transformation of a local festival, FestambienteSud, organized by the nation-wide green organization Legambiente, turning into the key cultural event of the territory. I claim that this peculiar empirical analysis may help shed light on some interesting dynamics in the management of cultural organizations.
First, it shows how the need for cultural heritage management (triggered by UNESCO WHL process) is a potential factor for field transformation. In the case of Monte Sant’Angelo, it clearly works as a (cultural) jolt (Greenwood and Suddaby, 2006) opening space for new projects and events. Second, it accounts for the emergence of a new cultural institution marking a discontinuity with the previous models of relation with local administrations. In the case of FestambienteSud, the cultural event developed as a platform above and beyond local politics and funding constraints although fully rooted in Monte Sant’Angelo identity. Third, it narrates how a multi-disciplinary artistic festival became a tradition (Hobsbawm and Ranger, 1978) by meeting the emergent institutional logics underpinning the WHL inclusion.
Carmelo Mazza is an Adjunct Professor at Department of Business and Management at LUISS Business School in Italy. He completed his PhD in Business Administration at IESE Business school, Spain. His core teaching focus in organizational behaviour is about power & politics dynamics within organizational decision making contexts.
Keywords: Institutional work, alignment, cultural organization.

Please register to: no later than Wednesday the 20th of March.
The seminar is free of charge and for everyone who might be interested - academics or practitioners alike.

The seminar will be in English.

The page was last edited by: Department of Organization // 11/15/2021