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Performing a myth to make a market: The construction of the ‘magical world’ of Santa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Author(s)

Teea Palo, Katy Mason, Philip John Roscoe

School/Research organisations

Abstract

If you believe in Santa, do not read this paper. Through an in-depth, qualitative, empirical study, we follow the Santa myth to a remote northern location in Lapland, Finland where, for one month a year, multiple actors come together to create a tourist market offering: the chance to visit Santa in his ‘magical world’. We explore how the myth is transformed into reality through performative, organisational speech acts, whereby felicitous conditions for the performance of visits to Santa are embedded in a complex socio-material network. We develop the performative turn (Gond et al., 2016) in organisational studies by introducing a new category of speech act, ‘translocution’, a compendium of imagining, discussing, proposing, negotiating and contracting that transforms the myth into a model of an imaginary-real world. Through translocutionary acts, actors calculate, organise the socio-material networks of the market, and manage the considerable uncertainty inherent in its operation. Details of the myth become market facts, while commercial constructs fade into the imaginary. The result, when felicitous conditions are achieved, is a ‘Merry Christmas’ of magical, performative power.
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Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-75
Number of pages23
JournalOrganization Studies
Volume41
Issue number1
Early online date9 Aug 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020

    Research areas

  • Myth, Performativity, Speech act, Market, Santa Claus, Imaginary-real, Translocution

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