Enron became known as the VADER of Energy Companies: The Metatheatre presented quite a different Frame.
There is a multiplicity of frames to be analyzed in this sixth SEPTET element.
Frames are defined as ideologies that are in dialectic contest, resisting each other, and refusing to synthesize. I prefer to use a combination of Goffman's, Burke's, and Aristotle's viewpoints on frames. For me it is frame triangulation.
Metatheatre is about the dialectic process of framing through theatre, in ways that appeals to the frame of mind of the spectator; it is about bringing counter-frames to bear on dominant frames, such as Enron's ideology of deregulation and "Free market" Enrononomics.
What are Narrative Frames (Ante is a building block rhizome to four organizing frames: SEE interactive VISUAL Display Hybridity Visuals Presentation in Netherlands.
Frames for Burke - the ‘frame’ (1937) element for Burke (1972: 23) was one he said that he always wanted to append to Pentad (1945). I unbundled two Aristotelian elements (rhythm & dialog) that Burke reduced to agency. This yields seven dramatis elements (plots, characters, themes, dialogs, rhythms, & spectacles), which I take on a critical postmodern theory turn informed by Boal, Debord, Best, and Kellner (See TAMARA Journal, 2001).[i]. Burke (1937, 1945, 1972) uses his Pentad to say that Marx is too focused on grotesque and burlesque frames of rejection; Burke prefers Nietzsche’s (1974/1887) more comedic frame of acceptance (Boje, Rosile, Durant & Luhman, 2002). Burke is always uncomfortable with Marx’s dialectic, which only analyzes exploitation. Burke’s proposal is dialectic of frames of acceptance against frames of rejection; in frames of acceptance we accept the tragic and comedic circumstances and our powerlessness to change the system; in frames of rejection actively resist what is considered grotesque or burlesque forms of domination. My thesis is the Septet elements refuse to cohere (for long) in Metatheatre, and just will not resolve into narrative closure; the ‘cock-ups’ keep emerging (Gabriel, 2000: 60, 148) into more and more fragmentation. I have developed the Septet thesis elsewhere (Boje, 2002a, b), and will focus here on Metatheatre and its more antenarrative relationships.
Frames for Aristotle - Aristotle (350 BCE), also wrote about frames, the “frames of mind” of the spectators, who must be persuaded through dialog and rhythm (or melody), and the proper poet must frame theatrics in ways that persuades them that a tragic flaw (e.g. hubris or greed) in the hero will ultimately bring about their reversals of fortune; so too, in Enron and Andersen, do commentators root out tragic character flaws, to get the public to purge their own tragic flaws, rather than accept greed as inevitable tragic comedy of Free Market, Deregulated capitalist ideology. For Aristotle frame is “putting the audience into a certain frame of mind” (Rhetoric, 1356a: 2). Theatre seeks to persuade through dialog and rhythm that some Frames better be adhered to by spectators or they will experience the smae reversal of fortune as tragic heroes.
Frames for Goffman - Goffman (1974) looked at how characters frame, re-frame, and break out of frames in a given situation.
Frames for Boal and Friere - For Freire and Boal, Frames are dialectic in a thesis of themes of oppression opposed by the antithesis of resistance to themes of oppression.
I assume that the three perspectives relate to different aspects of what I here by frames: theatre seeks to influence the “frames of mind” of spectator, frames are stakeholders are in dialectic opposition, and people can break out of frames and become aware of theatrical reframing processes. Some accept the Enron Situation/Spectacles as tragic and ask that we temper our acts/plots accordingly or we accept the situation/spectacle as comedic and act accordingly. Or, we can be more Marxian, says Burke and focus on Frames of Rejection, having to do with the Grotesque and the Burlesque frames. The Grotesque is "something like humor-with-the-laughter-omitted" (Burke, 1937: cf p. 76). Marx and critical theorists set about debunking and de-veiling the romantic frames (such as Free Market Capitalism) to expose the Grotesque and Burlesque material conditions beneath the stage.
The point is not the chronology of frame shifts from Enron king of New Economy deregulation to the Villain of ethical economics, but to analyze the intertextual weave of frames and counter-frames (in their antenarrative trajectories and in their metascript revisions), how early ones seem to go dormant and achieve resolve, only to re-appear again as ghostly frames thought to be dead and buried with the collapse of Enron.
In Enron, Burke's frames of acceptance (how stakeholders accept the comedic and tragic aspects of Enron executive greed and politicians influence-selling, as inevitable, ‘nothing can be done about it’) are opposed by frames of rejection (those who put Enron and Andersen into media and congressional inquisitions, allegedly to root out executive proclivity for more grotesque fraud and more burlesque sexual scandal). In Enron, the Metatheatre played its spectacles in order to persuade according to what Aristotle calls the Frames of Mind of the spectators.
Our point is quite simple. Enron is Theatre. Enron accomplishes its theatre to persuade and seduce employees, investors, and students into the willing suspension of disbelief. We life in what Boje (2002c) calls Theatres of Capitalism, in what Guy Debord (1967) calls the Society of the Spectacle and what our friends A. Fuat Firat and Nikhilesh Dholakia call the Political Economy of Theatres of Consumption (1998).
Aristotle (written 350 BCE). E.g.
(1954) translation Aristotle: Rhetoric and Poetics. Intro by Friedrich Solmsen;
Rhetoric translated by W. Rhys Roberts; Poetics translated by Ingram Bywater.
NY: The Modern Library (Random House). Poetics was written 350 BCE.
Boje, D. M. (2001a). Narrative
Methods for Organizational and Communication Research. London Sage.
D. M. (2001b). Carnivalesque Resistance to Global Spectacle: A Critical
Postmodern Theory of Public Administration. Administrative Theory & Praxis.
Vol. 23 (3): 431-458.
Boje, D. M. (2001c). Global Theatrics and Capitalism. Presentation to Academy of Management Conference, Washington D.C., August.
Boje, D. M. (2002a). Critical
Dramaturgical Analysis of Enron Antenarratives and Metatheatre. Plenary
presentation to 5th International Conference on Organizational Discourse: From
Micro-Utterances to Macro-Inferences, Wednesday 24th - Friday 26th July
Boje, D. M. (2002b) Enron
Metatheatre: A Critical Dramaturgy Analysis of Enron’s Quasi-Objects. Paper
presented at the Networks, Quasi-Objects, and Identity: Reintegrating Humans,
Technology, and Nature session of Denver Academy of Management Meetings. Tuesday
August 13, 2002.
Boje, D. M. (2002c) Theatres of Capitalism. Book being published by Hampton Press (San Francisco). Available until publication, on line, at http://business.nmsu.edu/~dboje/theatrics/index.htm (password is required).
Boje, D.M., Ann L. Cunliffe & John T. Luhman (2002). A dialectic perspective on the organizational theatre metaphor. Paper under review.
Boje, D. M. & G. A. Rosile (2002a). The Metatheatre Intervention Manual. To be published by ISEOR Research Institute of University of Lyon 2, France.
Boje, D. M. & G. A. Rosile (2002a). Theatrics of SEAM. Paper to be
published in Journal of Organiztional Change Management Special Issue on
Socio-Economic Approach to Management (SEAM), guest edited by Henri Saval.
D. M., Grace Ann Rosile, Rita A. Durant & John T. Luhman (2002). Enron
spectacle theatrics: A critical dramaturgical analysis. Under review at
Organization Studies, for special issue on organization theatre.
Burke, K. (1945). A grammar of motives. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Goffman, E. (1974). Frame analysis. New York, NY: Harper Colophon Books.
[i] Firat & Dholakia (1998) are equally important. Their marketing studies of Theatre of Consumption are reviewed in Boje (2002a). In addition Saner (1999, 2000) uses theatre in a more postmodern way in his notion of Off-Off Broadway consulting.
[ii] One director, John Urquhart, earned more than $ 490,000 in consulting fees from Enron. Another netted $ 72,000 for advice on its European business. Two others worked for non-profits on the receiving end of Enron generosity. Then there were the obscenely large salaries that board members earned -- $ 300,000-plus in cash and stocks, nearly three times the average for big firms (USA Today, 2002).
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