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Theater and Convention Theory: Achievements and Perspectives

Daniel Urrutiaguer (2024)

In Rainer Diaz-Bone & Guillemette de Larquier (eds.), Handbook of economics and sociology of conventions. Cham: Springer, Online first

Abstract. The chapter discusses the contribution of the political and social grammar of orders of worth to analyze the coordination issues of theatrical activities with their frictions and disputes in a highly unequal chain value, with significant differences in reputation. The regimes of engagement propose a complementary view on some stabilized coordination devices. The different logics of action, evaluation, and interpretation are intertwined around fluctuating compromises. Economics and sociology of conventions (EC/SC) distinguish three theater worlds according to their composite higher common principle of justice. The theatrical public service world is based on subsidy distribution according to professional experts’ assessments of artistic quality and has to face the increasing weight of the market and industry valuation. The private theater world is entrenched in personal risk-taking for artistic entertainment, and their model is questioned by over-competition and financialization. The emerging sustainable cultural development world is orientated toward preserving cultural diversity, inter-organizational solidarity, and attention to decreasing the environmental footprint. Socio-ecological issues run up against systemic obstacles in production valorization. Last, the governance stakes have to deal with the artistic critics of management, growing questions about the meaning of work, and storytelling on heritage value.

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