Shielding idiosyncrasy from isomorphic pressures

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Shielding idiosyncrasy from isomorphic pressures

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Title: Shielding idiosyncrasy from isomorphic pressures
towards optimal distinctivenes in European film making
Author: Alvarez, José Luis; Mazza, Carmelo; Strandgaard Pedersen, Jesper; Svejenova, Silviya
Abstract: Abstract. This paper advances a micro theory of creative action by examining how distinctive artists shield their idiosyncratic styles from the isomorphic pressures of a field. It draws on the cases of three internationally recognized, distinctive European film directors - Pedro Almodóvar (Spain), Nanni Moretti (Italy) and Lars von Trier (Denmark). We argue that in a cinema field, artistic pressures for distinctiveness along with business pressures for profits drive filmmakers’ quest for optimal distinctiveness. This quest seeks both exclusive, unique style and inclusive, audience-appealing artwork with legitimacy in the field. Our theory of creative action for optimal distinctiveness suggests that film directors increase their control by personally consolidating artistic and production roles, by forming close partnership with committed producer, and by establishing own production company. Ironically, to escape the iron cage of local cinema fields, film directors increasingly control the coupling of art and business, hence forging their own "iron cage". "[T]he unusual and paradoxical place that Pedro [Almodóvar] has been able to find: we are within the industry but we preserve our peculiarity." (Agustín Almodóvar, 2001). Optimal distinctiveness: "social identity is viewed as reconciliation of opposing needs for assimilation and differentiation from others." (Marilynn Brewer, 1991).
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10398/6672
Date: 2004-01-21

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