Power within the festival production process
This paper is based on qualitative studies of festival production. Together with my colleagues, we conducted 48 interviews with employees, co-workers and volunteers who worked at 12 festivals located in Poland. Main problem discussed here is “How people are governed in the process of festival production?” The system of differentiations that permits one to govern the others is the position in the network of relations. This network is a product of previous festivals, thus, the festival itself is both a stream of social network production and a competitive effort of individuals aiming to accumulate as many of these relations as possible. Individuals acting in the process of festival production aim to gain accurate position within the cultural field. Funding rules are the most important source of power over this sector. Both the precarious character of ‘work’ in a cultural field, especially in festivals production, and its continuous demand for a low paid and free labor, are related to neoliberal governing at the central, political level. This governing needs specific type of subject, which might be called active.
Keywords: power, Foucault, cultural field, festivals
This is a preprint of the article submitted to the international conference „Social boundaries of work. Changes in the sphere of work in the 21st century capitalism”
My paper aims to describe ‘human resource management’ in a festival production process. In other words, I would like to discuss how some individuals govern the others, during a production of cultural event, how their actions influence each other, how strategic games between liberties (Foucault 1988: 19) look within the field of festival production. I will try to describe techniques of power and struggles, that are connected to festival production, using the conceptual framework elaborated by Michel Foucault.
About the research
This paper is based on qualitative, empirical studies of festival production, which were previously described in a book “Fabryka kultury – praca i wolontariat przy festiwalach kulturalnych” by Gorgoń et al. In August and September 2013, together with colleagues, we conducted 48 in-depth, semi-structured interviews with employees, co-workers and volunteers who work at 12 festivals financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of Poland. The conversations mostly referred to organization of interlocutor’s work, its conditions, problems that the he or she encountered at work, his or her motivation etc. Basing on this conversations and using grounded theory, we were able to describe the process of festival production quite precisely. In this work, I would like to reexamine the research material, using different methodological approach.
The main question I would like to ask is “How people are governed in the process of festival production?”. Answering this general questions, I will follow some guidelines contained by Foucault in his late paper “The Subject and Power” (1982). Thus, I will examine:
1) Thanks to which system of differentiations the governing is possible?
2) What are objectives of those who govern the others, for what purpose governing is necessary?
3) What are the means of bringing power relations into being?