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Artistic Work in Pandemic Times

Abstract : While we are closing this special issue of Sociologia del lavoro dedicated to artistic work, the whole arts and entertainment sector is experiencing a major turmoil, linked to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic. Encouraged by the journal's editorial board, we offer our readers some first reflections, informally shared with scholars and professionals, on the challenges brought by the pandemic at two levels of analysis, both discussed in this issue: the rules and mechanisms regulating artistic work; the models and concepts offered by sociology to its study. Concerning the first level of analysis, we notice how lockdown measures following the pandemic-prohibiting concerts, shows and events with all other activities implying social gathering-have led to the prominent emergence in the public debate of the arts and entertainment sector, claiming its role as a productive industry and asking full recognition and protection to its members as workers. Those claims have taken a variety of forms, depending on the different impact of the restrictions according to areas and status of organizations or workers, and have led to different arrangements, defined within the institutional settings of each national context. The subfield which has been mostly affected by the restrictions is that of the performing arts, where the multisensorial and emotional dimensions involved in the interaction among artists, audiences and settings appear to be fundamental aspects of performances, irreproducible through the mediation of digital technologies-more or less "smartly" converting other types of activities. Moreover, health prescription foreseen to carefully face the phases following the lockdown-recommending social distancing and protective measures-seem difficult to suit the specific needs of artistic performance (as in the limiting case of prescribing medical face masks to theatre actors or choir singers). In the European countries where we have conducted our research the situation varies according to the regulative framework defining the artistic labour market and the arrangements achieved by its actors from governments, faced with the current emergency.
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Contributor : Pierre Bataille <>
Submitted on : Thursday, October 22, 2020 - 10:43:13 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, November 24, 2020 - 4:00:19 PM




Pierre Bataille, Sonia Bertolini, Clementina Casula, Marc Perrenoud. Artistic Work in Pandemic Times. Sociologia del Lavoro, Franco Angeli, 2020, pp.55-58. ⟨10.3280/SL2020-157003⟩. ⟨hal-02970870⟩



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