Governing Arts through Valuation: The Role of the State as Network Actor in the European Capital of Culture 2010

Lukas Crepaz, Christian Huber*, Tobias Scheytt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


In modern societies, the state plays a crucial role in the management of the arts through funding and more or less direct political intervention. Among these processes practices of valuation supported by specific accounting techniques play an important role. We propose that in order to understand the decision-making processes of the state, their effects on the arts and their management, and how the state and the arts become intertwined in arts management, can be studied through focusing on practices of valuation. This also enables researchers to understand the role of accounting in this intertwinement better. Drawing on David Stark’s concept of heterarchies, we explore the complex practices of valuation in a qualitative case study of the European Capital of Culture (ECC) 2010, ‘Essen for the Ruhr Area’. We show how the state was constructed through multiple actors who acted on behalf of ‘the state’ by using diverging principles of valuation in their interaction with the ECC project organization and its around 300 projects. Our paper contributes to the literature on arts management by casting light on the heterarchical structure of the state, the multiple practices of valuation entailed in its construction and their intertwinement with the arts in arts management. We illustrate the potential of Stark’s work on heterarchies for studying the state and the eminent role of valuation practices for studying accounting.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCritical Perspectives on Accounting
Issue numberJune
Pages (from-to)35-50
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Arts management
  • European Capital of Culture
  • Heterarchies
  • Valuation
  • State
  • Project organization

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