Publication details

The moral complexity of organising a civically engaged festival during the COVID-19 pandemic



Year of publication 2023
Type Chapter of a book
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Social Studies

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Description The COVID-19 pandemic opened many questions about the cultural sector’s ability to adapt to the disruptions of established forms of cultural production and consumption. Not only it exposed the full extent of precarity that characterizes labor relationships in this sector, but also its surprising resilience and flexibility. But what are the trade-offs of pandemic response? In this chapter, I focus on the case of a multi-genre cultural festival [fjúžn] and offer a detailed cultural sociological reconstruction of pandemic response of its organizers. Drawing on the theory of justification, I emphasize the role of moral expectations and evaluative judgments and argue that they played a crucial role in shaping decision-making that informed their response. I show that their response to the pandemic has started long before the festival production got affected by the pandemic in any practical terms, that they were able to respond to the pandemic creatively and in ways they found both meaningful and morally justifiable by making complex comprises, and that their growing recognition of the innovative potential of some practices, which were born out of these compromises, is likely to change their approach to the festival production in the future.
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