The pay's the thing: Intellectual property and the political economy of contemporary American theatrical production

by Keramidas, Kimon, Ph.D., CITY UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK, 2008, 476 pages; 3310662


Over the last hundred years, theatre has seen its place in American culture change greatly. Whereas theatre was once the popular culture, offering a variety of live entertainments that appealed to people across the socioeconomic spectrum, it now struggles to attract even a fraction of the audiences and faces new artistic and economic challenges as film, television, and the Internet become increasingly popular. This dissertation argues that scholars studying theatre must analyze the field of theatrical production from two new perspectives. First of all, theatre must be considered as a medium, so that it can become more readily apparent that theatre faces many of the same political, social, cultural, and economic circumstances as other media. Secondly, in order to better understand just how the field of theatrical production is integrated into the larger cultural marketplace, theatre studies must integrate the study of political economy into scholarly investigations into the theatrical field. In order to demonstrate the value of political economic analysis in the study of theatre, the majority of the dissertation will be spent examining the influence of intellectual property rights on the theatrical field. This dissertation looks at three ways in which intellectual property has been an important determiner in the development of theatrical production. The first section addresses attempts by directors, dramaturges, and actors to increase their capacity to claim ownership of intellectual property has created divisiveness within the theatrical field and threatened the collaborative nature of theatrical production. The second portion considers the use of intellectual properties by media conglomerates, such as Disney and Time Warner, as a means to integrate themselves into the field of theatrical production. The final section looks at how intellectual property rights have helped accelerate the commodification and propertization of culture, and how these trends have impacted the economic capabilities of theatrical production.

AdviserDavid Savran
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsTheater; Mass communication
Publication Number3310662

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