Tuesday, March 19, 2019

"Labor and Value in a Transitional Political Economy: the Case of Kun Opera in China," March 21 at Pitt.


From Peony Pavilion.

The University of Pittsburgh's Department of Music will present Da Lin and her talk "Labor and Value in a Transitional Political Economy: the Case of Kun Opera in China" on March 21.

This paper is concerned with how Kun opera performers’ labor was transformed into economic value throughout China’s political economic transition from the mid-1980s to the early 2000s. During this period, state-owned Kun opera troupes went through two waves of labor reforms, aimed at solving these troupes’ financial difficulties resulting from a declining command economy, and exploring new methods of management in a market economy. In a case study of the Jiangsu Province Kun Opera Troupe in Nanjing, the paper explores how the labor reforms were carried out, what role performers played in the shift, and what type of activities facilitated the value transformation of musical labor. The author argues that the politics of labor changed the coordination structures shaped by different forms of sociality, changed the primary perspective in society on the significance of Kun opera, and resulted in a change of production mode from restricted performances toward the large-scale production of Kun opera. The economic value of Kun opera in the early 2000s was derived from the importance of a performance defined from the perspective of the buying public realized in increasingly diverse and incomparable forms of sociality.
The talk runs from 4:00 to 5:00 pm in 132 Music Building (map).