Professional artists located outside the Canadian poles of creativity: a study of their practices under the lens of the pragmatic sociology of critique


Julie Bérubé, Université du Québec en Outaouais; Jacques-Bernard Gauthier, Université du Québec en Outaouais

Over the past decade, the creative and cultural industries have grown very rapidly (Bridgstock, 2013) and researchers identified that professional artists are struggling with a tension between the artistic and commercial imperatives (Hausmann and Heinze, 2016). Research studying this tension focuses on poles of creativity (e.g. New York, Montréal, Toronto) and shows the presence of politics to create, with the artists, a structure composed of investment formulas to ease this tension. For example, the city of Toronto’s governance system implements a structure constituted of cultural municipal policies, social and cultural programs and cultural institutions (Goldberg-Miller, 2015). This research focuses on the case of professional artists located outside the Canadian poles of creativity. The tension between the artistic and commercial imperatives is described as a tension between the inspired and market worlds of Boltanski and Thévenot’s (1991; 2006) On Justification theory. In the Canadian poles of creativity, like the case of the city of Toronto, politics represented by the civic world of Boltanski and Thévenot help manage this tension. The results of 50 semi-structured interviews with professional artists outside of the Canadian poles of creativity, point to a lower implication of politics in the cultural industries. In order to manage the tension between artistic and commercial imperatives, these artists are developing individual practices (development of new skills and adaptation art forms) and collective practices (professional and personal networking). These individual and collective investment formulas compensate for the low level involvement of politics in creating a structure in the cultural industries. Versatility, adaptability and networking relate to Boltanski and Chiappelo (2007; 2011)s projective world. Thus, to manage the tension between the inspired and market worlds, we identify the presence of the projective world in the case of professional artists outside the Canadian poles of creativity.

This paper will be presented at the following session: