Exploring strengths and weaknesses of cultural production through social network analysis: A case study in small town Germany

Activity: Talk or presentationGuest lecturesResearch

Volker Kirchberg - Speaker

Based on the concept of 'inter-organizational fields', organizational analysis emphasizes the definition of organizations as 'open natural systems', i.e., stressing the dependency on their surroundings. Inter-organizational fields are groups of actors held together by powerful brokers, and network analysis uncovers these brokers and reveals, distinguishes and examines powerful and powerless actors and their relations in networks, This paper presents a case study of such a network of arts organizations in a middle-size German city and describes and explains the scope and structure of this network along the dimensions of 'prestige and popularity' ('social capital'), 'sovereignty and autonomy' ('brokerage') and 'sub-networks and cliques' ('cohesion'), This analysis is based on a comprehensive and frequently reviewed data gathering in this town between 2007 and 2011. The network analysis shows that the arts are well connected but only in their role as solicitors, dependent on other local players. Just a few of the art producers or art distributors are members of the 'core clique' of the network; and only two genres (church music and museums) are interconnected in dense 'triad' structures. The main power brokers of the local art network are the municipal administration, connected with the local political powers, and two main foundations that provide most of the resources for the local arts.


17th International Conference on Cultural Economics 2012


Kyoto, Japan, Germany

Event: Conference