Towards a Sociology of Arts Managers
Sociological knowledge on arts and cultural management can be of great help for students, practitioners, and newcomers entering the field as a map to find their way in a complex landscape. It can also provide useful intellectual resources for critical thinking, which is a defining feature of these reflexive occupations. Yet, if there is little sociological research on arts management, there is still less on arts managers. In this paper, we posit that understanding arts management from a sociological point of view implies studying arts managers as a social group. This entails investigating the range of their socio-professional profiles and trajectories and, on this basis, accounting for their practices, skills, and values. It then becomes possible to locate arts management in the structures of class systems and of the work force, as well as in the complex web of relationships between the arts field, the market, private and public patrons, the media, and the general public. Eventually, such a framework enables us to specify what arts management is from a sociological point of view. This chapter proposes a first step in this direction. By posing the question of career choices in arts management by students, we shed light on the social conditions, resources, and values invested in such occupations. By doing so, our aim is to lay the basis for a comprehensive sociology of arts managers.