Changing cultural economy in the production of Indian performance

Booth, A
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The Asian Migrations Research Theme, the University of Otago

This paper focuses on cultural economy, the “set of socio-economic relations that enable cultural activities” (Pratt, 2008, p. 49). It examines the production and representation of culture as a function of the economic relations that enable successful production and the diverse set of partially connected economies in the diasporic setting of Auckland’s South Asian community. The paper is based on ethnographic research between 2010 and the present. Of events presenting Indian performance culture produced within Auckland’s South Asian community, roughly 5% are entirely economically self-sufficient. Most producers rely on a set of economic relationships to supplement the revenues generated by the event itself. Producers activate economic relationships through other kinds of relationships; social, political, cultural identity, family or commercial, but as economic relationships they also depend on mutual self-interest and the potential for mutual economic benefit. The findings demonstrate the formulation of various production networks that affect the economic and cultural value to the South Indian community. Recent concerts and festivals demonstrate how the activation of social relationships plays as economic relationships that add value to various levels of the cultural economy. Value is not limited to within the local community as relationships engage transnational communities and funding partners that influence event production practices. Issues around economic relations that enable cultural activities have all been reformulated in the context of a changing diasporic population (both in size and makeup) and a changing event and festival landscape in the “new” supersized Auckland.

Unthinking Asian Migrations: Spaces of flows and intersections held at the University of Otago, Dunedin, 2014-08-25 to 2014-08-26
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