Thursday, October 9, 2014

Book Review: Damon J. Phillips Shaping Jazz: Cities, Labels, and the Global Emergence of an Art Form

GODART Frederic
Access the publisher's website
Organization Studies 35, 10 (2014) 1541-1544

Damon Phillips’ first book, Shaping Jazz: Cities, Labels, and the Global Emergence of an Art Form, is a timely and path-finding contribution to the growing sociological and organizational literature dealing with the structural dynamics of creative industries by using social network analysis as a main analytical tool (Cattani & Ferriani, 2008; Godart, Shipilov, & Claes, 2013; Perry-Smith & Shalley, 2003; Uzzi & Spiro, 2005). This book synthesizes, and significantly expands, about a decade of work on jazz by the author and his colleagues (Phillips, 2011; Phillips & Kim, 2009; Phillips & Owens, 2004). The setting—jazz—makes it an appealing and pleasant read. The book is structured in seven chapters, six of which (1 to 6) are each focused on a specific puzzle related to the central question of “(sociological) congruence,” the last one being a synthesis and an opening to further research. “Congruence”—which can be understood as a match between the features of a cultural product and its audiences’ needs and expectations—is key to the understanding of jazz—and beyond of any industry “where novelty is rewarded” (p. 143)—because it helps shed light on the thorny question of success in creative industries (Bielby & Bielby, 1994; Godart & Mears, 2009; Salganik, Dodds, & Watts, 2006).