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Séminaires SGS

Government-Driven Disruption and the Emergence of an Institutional Niche in the Venezuelan Arts Market

Thomas Roulet (King's College, London)

10 mai 2017  -  12:00-13:00, salle Extranef 109

Host(s): Déborah Philippe

Institutional work plays a key role in the transformation of institutional fields and has become central to understanding how the struggle between those who disrupt and those who defend institutions lead to institutional change. Forceful institutional work, in particular when emanating from the political sphere, can have radical effects in highly professionalized fields which have relied on a balance between public and private sector cooperation. How can incumbents in those fields, deprived of government support, but strong in professional legitimacy survive and remain legitimate? We draw on an in-depth longitudinal analysis of changes that impacted the Venezuelan arts market, with the arrival of Chavez’s Bolivarian revolution. Banished from the public sphere and institutionalized spaces such as museums and public galleries, Venezuelan art professionals have had to circumvent external forces and engage in the creation of an institutional niche - a “Bubble of Freedom” – in which their activity as legitimate professionals interacting with their global counterparts could continue. Our study enables a better understanding of institutional change in professionalized fields disrupted by powerful institutional actors, and fleshes out forging a parallel field as a form of defensive institutional work, a different institutional space from which former incumbents can become new challengers. 

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