Questions of Power: Discipline and the Greedy Theatre

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Theatre is a world in itself and claims to make the whole world its subject. In the eighteenth century it emerged as a modern corporation to improve society and to serve as a “moral institution”. Backed by enhanced technology and organization the theatre thus became part of a series of modern organizations committed to the ideals of humanity and rationality, but based on rigid disciplinary power as described by Foucault. Based on the situation in German-speaking countries, this article describes the conflicting ambivalence between negotiated contents and working practice within the framework of largely unchanged power structures. Using Lewis A. Coser’s concept of the ‘greedy institution’, the theatre proves to be a possessive institution that succeeds in capturing the attention of its members to the highest degree and exploiting them for their higher goals.