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Disembedding temporary events: Understanding the growing phenomenon of comic-cons

16 aprile 2020 ore 11:30 - 13:00

Aula 205b, Sede di Viale Romania, 32

Speaker: Yesim Tonga Uriarte, IMT School for Advanced Studies Lucca


Over the last decades, institutional approaches to organization studies focus attention on the relationships among organizations and the fields in which they operate, with an emerging emphasis on understanding the role of actors in effecting, transforming and maintaining institutions and fields. Nevertheless, to date, only limited scholarly attention has been devoted to the study of temporary organizing considering multiple temporal, social and institutional embeddedness of projects. Within this framework, we investigate the relations between festivals and their institutional settings, and how these relations shape festival management. To this end, we first analyse the growing phenomenon of comic-cons, which represent a large umbrella of declinations that includes not only literature, games, comics, cinema and their transmedial convergences, but also related forms of lifestyle narratives and socialization practices. Then, we focus on a specific case study, Lucca Comics & Games, which is the biggest festival dedicated to fantasy culture in Italy and among the biggest in the world. Our results, based on archival research, media coverage and interview data, reveal the dependence of institutional maintenance on the actions of individual and collective agents (i.e. institutional entrepreneurs) and the recursive interplay between institutional logics and work practices. Building on our findings, we argue that the temporary but typically recurrent organization of a festival is deeply entrenched with the concept of movement across boundaries, both temporal, physical and psychological, which indicate significant shortcomings in current theorizing on temporary events in organization studies. In this regard, the maintaining of institutions must be distinguished from stability or the absence of change. Furthermore, consideration of historical and contextual analysis from a wider perspective can open up new ways of thinking for prospective research.

Link to the paper: