Organizing the circus: The engineering of miracles

Martin Parker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


This paper defines the circus as an institutionalized questioning of forms of stability and classification, and then enquires as to how such effects are produced. I begin with the cultural representations of the circus, and then move through sections on community, movement and economic organization. This order is intended to illustrate that the production of mystery is a complex affair, and that cultural and economic descriptions of this particular form of organization are necessarily entangled. Focusing on one at the expense of the other leads to either a culturalism which lacks an understanding of production, or a business model which is incapable of understanding miracles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)555-569
Number of pages15
JournalOrganization Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2011


  • carnival
  • circus
  • cultural economy
  • fair
  • festival
  • mobility

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