Networks on the walls: Analyzing “traces” of institutional logics in museums’ permanent exhibitionsYue ZHAO, Anna ZAMORA-KAPOOR, Frederic GODART
What can scholars learn from looking at how objects are interrelated in concrete social settings? We argue that even in the absence of directly observable materially-mediated relations between individuals, objects offer “traces” of institutional dynamics. More specifically, meaning-laden objects offer a window on the dynamics and intermingling of institutional logics. Accordingly, we explore a research setting where objects occupy an eminent position—élite art museums such as the MoMA in New York, Tate Modern in London, and the Pompidou in Paris. We first explain how the staging of permanent exhibitions offers an understanding of the institutional logics at play in this type of organizations. Then, using a social network analysis perspective, we show how the state, market, and aesthetic logics influence the selection of the artists who have produced the artworks under consideration and how they are staged.