Who you know or how you're known: The dual effect of professional collaboration and status positioning on artistic careers in Dutch films

Teekens, T., 15-Jun-2018.

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperAcademic

Research indicates the importance of networks on professional achievement. Particularly in the art world, two types of professional networks are significant: collaboration-based networks, in which artists choose whom to work with, and symbolic networks, where others connect artists for comparison and evaluation. This article adds to a growing body of work on the notion of a “symbolic network”—a network created by others, used as a method of evaluating an individual’s position in comparison to others. Such a network functions as a cognitive map which individuals use to make sense of the world around them, and to categorize and evaluate an artist’s standing. Understanding the interplay between these two connection types, and their relative effect on artistic careers, is the focus of this research.
For this study, I examine the Dutch film industry. I execute a two-staged research: first, I quantitatively map the professional networks between actors in Dutch films coming out in the cinema between 1997 and 2012. By analysing what positions actors have in a network on a specific point in their career through block modelling and sequence analysis, I find three ideal types of careers, with different amounts of career rewards: the long-term central, the long-term peripheral, and the sporadic career. Peripheral careers and sporadic careers in the centre of networks are evenly successful.
Second, by making use of case studies of the ideal types emerging from the first analysis, I use the comparisons used in a set of reviews to map three actors’ symbolic networks. Findings reveal several dimensions on which symbolic network positions might differ: centrality, density and fragmentation. Further, I find these networks are multi-modal, trans-national and span different fields of cultural production. Conclusions for further research are then drawn, indicating how a larger scale quantitative study would need to be designed.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 15-Jun-2018
EventCultural Sociology Lowlands - Erasmus University Rotterdam, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 15-Jun-201815-Jun-2018
Conference number: 2


ConferenceCultural Sociology Lowlands


Cultural Sociology Lowlands


Rotterdam, Netherlands

Event: Conference

ID: 62520326