Eurovision 2014 as potlatch?

Exploring mega events as cultural demonstrations of complex outcomes

Carina Bregnholm Ren, Morten Krogh Petersen

Publikation: Bidrag til bog/antologi/rapport/konference proceedingKonferenceabstrakt i proceedingForskningpeer review

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Resumé

Eurovision 2014 as potlatch? Exploring mega events as cultural demonstrations of complex outcomes Carina Ren & Morten Krogh Petersen, Aalborg University How to tell if an event is ‘worth it’? In all its simplicity, this question often troubles investors, planners, local communities, politicians as well as researchers involved in the planning and assessing of events. The question brings to the fore complex methodological issues: first, how to determine what might constitute a ‘good’ outcome and, second, how to determine which indicators, parameters and metrics might be used in measuring whether these outcomes have materialized or not (Petersen 2009)? These difficulties are becoming even more intricate as the public and private sectors increasingly join forces in organizing large events, bringing quite different definitions of ‘good’ outcomes to the table. In our presentation, we argue that such cross-sectorial events must not purely be understood as opportunities for profit-generation. Other forms of outcomes may, we argue, be explored through careful, ethnographic studies of how different logics of valuing intersect as events come into being. In order to broaden the concept of value in relation to events, we propose to consider the event as what anthropologist Marcel Mauss entitled a potlatch (Mauss [1955]/1990). At a first glance, the potlatch resembles a meaningless ritual of conspicuous consumption and destruction of wealth and hence, its’ worth was severely challenged by outside (Western) bystanders. To Mauss, however, it contained a range of intricate internal and situated logics and negotiations of status, power and domination. We use the concept of potlatch to explore the different logics of valuing the Eurovision Song Contest held in Copenhagen in May 2014. Through its linking of corporate, municipal, regional and national activities and interests and its many outreach schemes within tourism, education, industrial development and sustainability, numerous sub-events and intense collaboration between an unconventional array of actors (NGOs, schools, a private real estate company, the municipality and the region), we propose to see Eurovision 2014 as a cross-sectorial innovation project. We show how the intricate public-private collaboration and the attempts at linking the event to very different tasks and objectives made the valuing of collaboration outcomes quite controversial. Through our fieldwork, we learnt that the outcomes for stakeholders were most often not (only) about generating a monetary surplus, for instance by attracting tourist for the event, but also about creating ‘much more than a song contest’. Just like the potlatch, the value was not always directly visible or measurable. In conclusion, we discuss how the blurring of sectorial and institutional boundaries is an increasing challenge in terms of establishing accountability, facing not only events but more generally cross-sectorial innovation endeavors. In our case, different definitions of ‘good’ outcomes did not comply with usual ways of valuing events and their outcomes. However, the concept of potlatch allows us to explore and acknowledge how different logics of valuing may co-exist. It also shows that different values and ‘worths’ emerge when we as researchers engage in our research field in a meticulous, careful manner.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
Titel23rd Nordic Symposium in Tourism and Hospitality Research
Publikationsdato2 okt. 2014
StatusUdgivet - 2 okt. 2014
Begivenhed23rd Nordic Symposium in Tourism and Hospitality Research : The values of Tourism - CBS/AAU København, København, Danmark
Varighed: 2 okt. 20144 okt. 2014

Konference

Konference23rd Nordic Symposium in Tourism and Hospitality Research
LokationCBS/AAU København
LandDanmark
ByKøbenhavn
Periode02/10/201404/10/2014

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event
song
innovation
Values
industrial development
real estate
field research
domination
investor
non-governmental organization
municipality
politician
religious behavior
private sector
tourist
public sector
profit
Tourism
stakeholder
sustainability

Emneord

  • Eurovision 2014
  • mega-events
  • potlatch

Citer dette

Ren, C. B., & Petersen, M. K. (2014). Eurovision 2014 as potlatch? Exploring mega events as cultural demonstrations of complex outcomes. I 23rd Nordic Symposium in Tourism and Hospitality Research
Ren, Carina Bregnholm ; Petersen, Morten Krogh. / Eurovision 2014 as potlatch? Exploring mega events as cultural demonstrations of complex outcomes. 23rd Nordic Symposium in Tourism and Hospitality Research . 2014.
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abstract = "Eurovision 2014 as potlatch? Exploring mega events as cultural demonstrations of complex outcomes Carina Ren & Morten Krogh Petersen, Aalborg University How to tell if an event is ‘worth it’? In all its simplicity, this question often troubles investors, planners, local communities, politicians as well as researchers involved in the planning and assessing of events. The question brings to the fore complex methodological issues: first, how to determine what might constitute a ‘good’ outcome and, second, how to determine which indicators, parameters and metrics might be used in measuring whether these outcomes have materialized or not (Petersen 2009)? These difficulties are becoming even more intricate as the public and private sectors increasingly join forces in organizing large events, bringing quite different definitions of ‘good’ outcomes to the table. In our presentation, we argue that such cross-sectorial events must not purely be understood as opportunities for profit-generation. Other forms of outcomes may, we argue, be explored through careful, ethnographic studies of how different logics of valuing intersect as events come into being. In order to broaden the concept of value in relation to events, we propose to consider the event as what anthropologist Marcel Mauss entitled a potlatch (Mauss [1955]/1990). At a first glance, the potlatch resembles a meaningless ritual of conspicuous consumption and destruction of wealth and hence, its’ worth was severely challenged by outside (Western) bystanders. To Mauss, however, it contained a range of intricate internal and situated logics and negotiations of status, power and domination. We use the concept of potlatch to explore the different logics of valuing the Eurovision Song Contest held in Copenhagen in May 2014. Through its linking of corporate, municipal, regional and national activities and interests and its many outreach schemes within tourism, education, industrial development and sustainability, numerous sub-events and intense collaboration between an unconventional array of actors (NGOs, schools, a private real estate company, the municipality and the region), we propose to see Eurovision 2014 as a cross-sectorial innovation project. We show how the intricate public-private collaboration and the attempts at linking the event to very different tasks and objectives made the valuing of collaboration outcomes quite controversial. Through our fieldwork, we learnt that the outcomes for stakeholders were most often not (only) about generating a monetary surplus, for instance by attracting tourist for the event, but also about creating ‘much more than a song contest’. Just like the potlatch, the value was not always directly visible or measurable. In conclusion, we discuss how the blurring of sectorial and institutional boundaries is an increasing challenge in terms of establishing accountability, facing not only events but more generally cross-sectorial innovation endeavors. In our case, different definitions of ‘good’ outcomes did not comply with usual ways of valuing events and their outcomes. However, the concept of potlatch allows us to explore and acknowledge how different logics of valuing may co-exist. It also shows that different values and ‘worths’ emerge when we as researchers engage in our research field in a meticulous, careful manner.",
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Ren, CB & Petersen, MK 2014, Eurovision 2014 as potlatch? Exploring mega events as cultural demonstrations of complex outcomes. i 23rd Nordic Symposium in Tourism and Hospitality Research . 23rd Nordic Symposium in Tourism and Hospitality Research , København, Danmark, 02/10/2014.

Eurovision 2014 as potlatch? Exploring mega events as cultural demonstrations of complex outcomes. / Ren, Carina Bregnholm; Petersen, Morten Krogh.

23rd Nordic Symposium in Tourism and Hospitality Research . 2014.

Publikation: Bidrag til bog/antologi/rapport/konference proceedingKonferenceabstrakt i proceedingForskningpeer review

TY - ABST

T1 - Eurovision 2014 as potlatch?

T2 - Exploring mega events as cultural demonstrations of complex outcomes

AU - Ren, Carina Bregnholm

AU - Petersen, Morten Krogh

PY - 2014/10/2

Y1 - 2014/10/2

N2 - Eurovision 2014 as potlatch? Exploring mega events as cultural demonstrations of complex outcomes Carina Ren & Morten Krogh Petersen, Aalborg University How to tell if an event is ‘worth it’? In all its simplicity, this question often troubles investors, planners, local communities, politicians as well as researchers involved in the planning and assessing of events. The question brings to the fore complex methodological issues: first, how to determine what might constitute a ‘good’ outcome and, second, how to determine which indicators, parameters and metrics might be used in measuring whether these outcomes have materialized or not (Petersen 2009)? These difficulties are becoming even more intricate as the public and private sectors increasingly join forces in organizing large events, bringing quite different definitions of ‘good’ outcomes to the table. In our presentation, we argue that such cross-sectorial events must not purely be understood as opportunities for profit-generation. Other forms of outcomes may, we argue, be explored through careful, ethnographic studies of how different logics of valuing intersect as events come into being. In order to broaden the concept of value in relation to events, we propose to consider the event as what anthropologist Marcel Mauss entitled a potlatch (Mauss [1955]/1990). At a first glance, the potlatch resembles a meaningless ritual of conspicuous consumption and destruction of wealth and hence, its’ worth was severely challenged by outside (Western) bystanders. To Mauss, however, it contained a range of intricate internal and situated logics and negotiations of status, power and domination. We use the concept of potlatch to explore the different logics of valuing the Eurovision Song Contest held in Copenhagen in May 2014. Through its linking of corporate, municipal, regional and national activities and interests and its many outreach schemes within tourism, education, industrial development and sustainability, numerous sub-events and intense collaboration between an unconventional array of actors (NGOs, schools, a private real estate company, the municipality and the region), we propose to see Eurovision 2014 as a cross-sectorial innovation project. We show how the intricate public-private collaboration and the attempts at linking the event to very different tasks and objectives made the valuing of collaboration outcomes quite controversial. Through our fieldwork, we learnt that the outcomes for stakeholders were most often not (only) about generating a monetary surplus, for instance by attracting tourist for the event, but also about creating ‘much more than a song contest’. Just like the potlatch, the value was not always directly visible or measurable. In conclusion, we discuss how the blurring of sectorial and institutional boundaries is an increasing challenge in terms of establishing accountability, facing not only events but more generally cross-sectorial innovation endeavors. In our case, different definitions of ‘good’ outcomes did not comply with usual ways of valuing events and their outcomes. However, the concept of potlatch allows us to explore and acknowledge how different logics of valuing may co-exist. It also shows that different values and ‘worths’ emerge when we as researchers engage in our research field in a meticulous, careful manner.

AB - Eurovision 2014 as potlatch? Exploring mega events as cultural demonstrations of complex outcomes Carina Ren & Morten Krogh Petersen, Aalborg University How to tell if an event is ‘worth it’? In all its simplicity, this question often troubles investors, planners, local communities, politicians as well as researchers involved in the planning and assessing of events. The question brings to the fore complex methodological issues: first, how to determine what might constitute a ‘good’ outcome and, second, how to determine which indicators, parameters and metrics might be used in measuring whether these outcomes have materialized or not (Petersen 2009)? These difficulties are becoming even more intricate as the public and private sectors increasingly join forces in organizing large events, bringing quite different definitions of ‘good’ outcomes to the table. In our presentation, we argue that such cross-sectorial events must not purely be understood as opportunities for profit-generation. Other forms of outcomes may, we argue, be explored through careful, ethnographic studies of how different logics of valuing intersect as events come into being. In order to broaden the concept of value in relation to events, we propose to consider the event as what anthropologist Marcel Mauss entitled a potlatch (Mauss [1955]/1990). At a first glance, the potlatch resembles a meaningless ritual of conspicuous consumption and destruction of wealth and hence, its’ worth was severely challenged by outside (Western) bystanders. To Mauss, however, it contained a range of intricate internal and situated logics and negotiations of status, power and domination. We use the concept of potlatch to explore the different logics of valuing the Eurovision Song Contest held in Copenhagen in May 2014. Through its linking of corporate, municipal, regional and national activities and interests and its many outreach schemes within tourism, education, industrial development and sustainability, numerous sub-events and intense collaboration between an unconventional array of actors (NGOs, schools, a private real estate company, the municipality and the region), we propose to see Eurovision 2014 as a cross-sectorial innovation project. We show how the intricate public-private collaboration and the attempts at linking the event to very different tasks and objectives made the valuing of collaboration outcomes quite controversial. Through our fieldwork, we learnt that the outcomes for stakeholders were most often not (only) about generating a monetary surplus, for instance by attracting tourist for the event, but also about creating ‘much more than a song contest’. Just like the potlatch, the value was not always directly visible or measurable. In conclusion, we discuss how the blurring of sectorial and institutional boundaries is an increasing challenge in terms of establishing accountability, facing not only events but more generally cross-sectorial innovation endeavors. In our case, different definitions of ‘good’ outcomes did not comply with usual ways of valuing events and their outcomes. However, the concept of potlatch allows us to explore and acknowledge how different logics of valuing may co-exist. It also shows that different values and ‘worths’ emerge when we as researchers engage in our research field in a meticulous, careful manner.

KW - Eurovision 2014

KW - mega-events

KW - potlatch

KW - valuation

KW - events

KW - Potlatch

M3 - Conference abstract in proceeding

BT - 23rd Nordic Symposium in Tourism and Hospitality Research

ER -

Ren CB, Petersen MK. Eurovision 2014 as potlatch? Exploring mega events as cultural demonstrations of complex outcomes. I 23rd Nordic Symposium in Tourism and Hospitality Research . 2014