“Deep in the forest, something stirred…” Examining the influence of community on the organizing practices of a festival.

Lucas, Mike J. (2012). “Deep in the forest, something stirred…” Examining the influence of community on the organizing practices of a festival. In: British Academy of Management Annual Conference, 11-13 Sep 2012, University of Cardiff.

Abstract

While the organisation of community festivals and their socio-economic impacts have been studied for some time, they remain largely unexplored by management researchers. The festival is an important example of organisation as practice - the “practical ordering of heterogeneous human, material and symbolic elements” (Nicolini, 2009). - versus the conventional assumption of organisation as entity. It allows the relationships between the social practices of organising, the cultural context of these practices and the development of practitioner identities to be observed more closely.

This paper is based on the findings of a research study, undertaken over three years, in which I observed the organisation of a community-based culture festival in rural central Sweden. My study set out to examine some of the details of the organization of a specific festival by a specific village community to explore some of the complex links between the two broader fields of social practice of organizing and community respectively. This paper focuses on two particular aspects of the study, namely the nature of social interactions amongst community members involved in volunteering their time to deliver the festival, and the material and practical symbols of community identity evident, to examine how they influenced the organizing practices of the festival.

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