“Much More than a Song Contest”: Exploring Eurovision 2014 as Potlatch
As economic and budgetary scandals reached Danish front pages in 2014 over the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) held that year in Copenhagen, many bystanders questioned the sense of the event, proclaiming it a massive waste of public money. In this article, we introduce the concept of “potlatch” to explore the valuation and values of this event, seeing it as a “total social phenomenon” in which more than merely economic matters are at stake. Framing Eurovision as a cross-sectoral innovation project, we show how a wide array of actors from the public and private sector collaboratively sought to turn the event into “much more than a song contest.” This “much more” is investigated by describing the partnering actors’ arduous work to create value through different project logics. Where other valuations of the event put little work into bringing forth values which transgress the realm of the economic and quantifiable, we argue that a more caring engagement enacts non-economic event outcomes usually made invisible or, at best, perceived as “intangible.”
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