Managing Autonomy

Analyzing Arts Management and Artistic Autonomy through the Theory of Justification

Arts management has commonly been analyzed as a microcosm of the art field, in which struggles between artistic, economic, administrative, and societal considerations are constantly being fought. Using the field theory of Bourdieu, scholars have attempted to uncover levels of functional differentiation within arts organizations, and interpreted differentiation between artistic considerations and economic and administrative considerations as a core element in defining the artistic autonomy of such organizations. In this article, I present an alternative approach to the interpretation of artistic autonomy in arts management. Through the stories of three artistic directors and the way in which they run their theatres, I aim to show the theory of justification (developed by Boltanski and Thévenot) and shed new light on the interpretation of arts management, as well as on the understanding of artistic autonomy more generally.


Bård Kleppe




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