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December 2021

Socializing aesthetics and 'Selling Like Gangbusters'

Journal/Book: Organ Stud. 1999; 20: Genthiner Strasse 13, D-10785 Berlin, Germany. Walter De Gruyter & Co. 641-658.

Abstract: If Cultural Studies has contributed anything to aesthetics in recent decades, it has been a sense of political immediacy: matters of style, taste, and judgement are now unquestionably matters of power. Organizational research on aesthetics does not reflect this development. For almost twenty-five years Cultural Studies and organizational research have had parallel interests in the study of culture, symbolism, ritual, and so on. Critical perspectives on power and ideology have had currency for both fields, but organizational researchers have not reflected these topics in discussions of taste, style, and aesthetics. After reviewing aesthetics as a paradigm of cultural research in organizations, this article suggests some consequences of marginalizing the concern with power and aesthetics in Cultural Studies. The discussion is grounded in an ethnography of a Chicago-based entertainment firm. In the business of producing live entertainment far Fortune 500 clients, the company's roots extended deep into American vaudeville traditions. The aesthetic knowledge of musical style and entertainer traditions formed the basis of this company's,practice. Data-is drawn from interviews with theatrical agents, producers, orchestra leaders and performers. Mapping the recuperation of vaudeville into corporate settings suggests the radically contextual nature of aesthetic practice.

Note: Article Rusted B, Univ Calgary, Fac Gen Studies, Calgary, AB T2N 1N4, CANADA

Keyword(s): artworlds; cultural studies; folk aesthetics; social communication; vaudeville


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