Competitions as Complex Performances

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Abstract

This chapter presents a cultural approach to studying competitions that involves conceptualizing competitions as performative events where individuals and collectivities present and negotiate meanings. In the first part of the chapter, the promise of this approach is illustrated through an analysis of international competitions in classical music. I present four arguments concerning the wider cultural significance and interactional structure of music competitions which result from interpreting them as complex performances. In the second part of the chapter, I explore how these arguments could be extended by considering the political, educational, media, and vocational context surrounding international classical music competitions. In the final part of the chapter, I suggest directions for future research by outlining a systematic comparison of competitions across the arts and beyond.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Performance Complex
Subtitle of host publicationCompetition and Competitions in Social Life
EditorsDavid Stark
PublisherOxford University Press
Chapter4
ISBN (Print)9780198861669
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jul 2020

Keywords

  • art
  • civility
  • Cold War
  • competitions
  • classical music
  • incorporation
  • media
  • music education
  • performance
  • prizes
  • vocation

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