(UNESCO / Japan Young Researchers' fellowships programme)

The Sociology of Culture/Theatre: Art and Culture as Vehicles for Business Advertising

Summary of research carried out: 
The Sociology of Culture/Theatre: Art and Culture as Vehicles for Business Advertising

It is today possible to speak of a process of globalization of the contemporary cultural and artistic phenomenon, regardless of the geographical area chosen as a study sample.

Many notions or concepts of the present-day European market economy exist in some “cosy little nest”, in desperate attempts by specialists in support of creators of beauty that have necessitated espousing new European trends, a new formula for selling on the market, on a “supply-and-demand” basis, “cultural products and performance art”.

Employment agencies, as instruments of EUROpeanisation, have set themselves up as the social parents of stage designers, directors and actors, making them the strangest offers of work.

Those who, thanks to their talent or academic work, achieve professional recognition by obtaining a diploma make all sorts of artistic compromises, such as street theatre, on various occasions, which may be more or less cultural but are certainly profitable for the economic agent. It is, of course, difficult to accept artists in their former Bohemian aura of people predestined to a life lived according to the theoretical demands of their art! But every artist, and anyone who is at the same time a wise person, will prefer to work in an environment where there are no professional compromises to be made, and where it is possible to develop and explore their gifts for observation, feelings and motivation and where one can constantly seek out new tools specific to their art!

So, without addressing the issue of stars and the star system, the creator working in the sphere of aesthetics has today become the equal of us all, an ordinary citizen in the crowd. Is this alarming and serious, or is it to be expected and obvious? Our society, in its new, forever evolving form, has undone the myths of former civilizations by creating new functions for them, establishing “wage slips” and norms for hours of creation, even devising computers capable of measuring artists’ talent or their performance…

We can also deplore the vicious misappropriation of the talent of artists who no longer use their soul, their “guts” which might give rise to “the work of the self” – but who devote themselves to money, the “contemporary God”. They are, thus, considered to belong to the company management, with the role of business animator serving as a propaganda element to raise the awareness of clients who are targeted, forced to take part in the consumer society. In fact, all economic agents now make use, directly or indirectly, of that human resource, the artist, whether in advertising, design, the media or in other areas. The new life of the artist is therefore that of a civil servant dealing in consumer goods that belong to us all and that, in most cases, remain an object of civil hilarity.

Channelling the energies of art and culture into the mixer of the exchange economy causes serious harm to the aesthetic and axiological quality of the culture of peoples, forfeiting a large part of what economists refer to as factors of production, which can never be combined with art. The performing arts will always function according to their already hallowed principles. They will still be needing a large budget and the notion of profit in this case rules out all reference to “money”! Any attempt to move away from the principles of art and any substitution in the creative process will lead to a debasement of the “gross end-product”.


26 June 2002