Performing a myth to make a market : The construction of the ‘magical world’ of Santa
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If you believe in Santa, do not read this paper. Through an in-depth, qualitative, empirical study, we follow the Santa myth to a remote northern location in Lapland, Finland where, for 1 month a year, multiple actors come together to create a tourist market offering: the chance to visit Santa in his ‘magical world’. We explore how the myth is transformed into reality through performative, organisational speech acts, whereby felicitous conditions for the performance of visits to Santa are embedded in a complex socio-material network. We develop the performative turn (Gond et al., 2016) in organisational studies by introducing a new category of speech act, ‘translocution’, a compendium of imagining, discussing, proposing, negotiating, and contracting that transforms the myth into a model of an imaginary-real world. Through translocutionary acts, actors calculate, organise the socio-material networks of the market, and manage the considerable uncertainty inherent in its operation. Details of the myth become market facts, while commercial constructs fade into the imaginary. The result, when felicitous conditions are achieved, is a ‘Merry Christmas’ of magical, performative power.
Palo , T , Mason , K & Roscoe , P J 2018 , ' Performing a myth to make a market : The construction of the ‘magical world’ of Santa ' Organization Studies , vol. OnlineFirst . https://doi.org/10.1177/0170840618789192
Copyright © 2018, SAGE Publications. This work is made available online in accordance with the publisher’s policies. This is the author created, accepted version manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at https://doi.org/10.1177/0170840618789192
DescriptionThis work was supported by an Early Career Small Grant Awarded by the Research Committee, Lancaster University (SGS21/35).
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