Policy for sustainable and responsible festivals and events: institutionalisation of a new paradigm - a response
Dredge, D & Whitford, M 2010, 'Policy for sustainable and responsible festivals and events: institutionalisation of a new paradigm – a response', Journal of Policy Research in Tourism, Leisure and Events, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 1-13.
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There are increasing calls for the assumptions and values that underpin research in the social sciences to be made explicit and for more critical attention being given to the way in which knowledge is generated and validated. Inspired by such requests, this paper challenges some propositions made by Donald Getz in the paper he wrote for the inaugural volume of Policy Research in Tourism, Leisure and Events. In this paper Getz presents a vision for events policy and proposes the development of events policy that embodies a ‘sustainable and responsible approach’ to public sector involvement in events. In the spirit of critical, engaged academic debate, this paper challenges the following four propositions that emerge from Getz’s paper: (1) the state of existing event policy research is underdeveloped; (2) that it is possible to delimit the scope and substance of policy concerns within event studies; (3) neoliberalism has influenced governments to take a predominantly interventionist role in events, principally to secure economic development and prosperity; (4) it is possible for governments to institutionalise an event policy paradigm. Importantly, we recognise that Getz has made significant contributions to the events policy literature, but arguably, it is important to engage more thoroughly with some of his ideas and claims. Our contribution in this paper has been to argue that significant aspects, such as paradigm shifts in events policy, the role of government in events and the role of event policy research require more nuanced understandings in order to account for, and accommodate, the intricacies of event planning, management and policy. Our aim is to establish a broader agenda on events policy research that embraces a wider range of epistemologies, ontologies and methodologies than Getz proposes in his sustainable and responsible approach.