Curtain rising, baton falling: The politics of musical conducting in contemporary Argentina

Claudio E. Benzecry*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


This article gives an ethnographic account of the several processes under which a charismatic conductor is de-legitimized, exploring the relationship between institutions and charisma in an art world where the authority of the cultural producer is diminished by the management of everyday interaction. The article shows how, in Argentina, the politics of musical conducting are shaped by four institutional worlds. They range from the macro economic cultural policies of the diverse state agencies to the everyday interaction world of orchestra musicians, and include meso-processes and mechanisms like the field of musical conducting. This article explores the structure and ideologies of the four institutional worlds, their interplay, the concrete practices that shaped them, their struggles, and how they overlap in causing the diminishing power of charisma. In undertaking this endeavor, the article systematizes the existing sociological corpus on the orchestral world in order to sketch a more complex and complete picture of hierarchies and interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)445-479
Number of pages35
JournalTheory and Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science


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