Mainstreaming Innovation in Art Worlds: Cooperative links, conventions and amphibious artists

Gerardo Patriotta*, Paul Hirsch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


We extend Becker’s conception of art worlds to articulate the boundaries which enable and constrain innovation in art. Synthesizing network and institutional approaches to art innovation, we argue that new conventions develop through a cooperative process involving mainstreamers, mavericks, outsiders, and novices – whose interactions produce novel ways of linking artists to those who consume their products. We emphasize the role of amphibious artists in bridging mainstream and maverick social types, thereby reducing the distance between ‘outside’ and ‘inside’, and crossing the more permeable boundaries separating them. We illustrate the framework with a case of innovation in the film art world: the mainstreaming of American independent cinema.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)867-887
Number of pages21
JournalOrganization Studies
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016


  • US independent cinema
  • art worlds
  • innovation
  • institutional theory
  • networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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