Discourses around the present day woman patron in the Netherlands: Agency and elitism
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This thesis explores the discourse around the present day woman art patron in the Netherlands. With patronage becoming increasingly important for the art and culture sector and the lack of research regarding present day women patrons in the Netherlands, a discourse analysis was performed. Incorporating the results from the discourse analysis performed on the case studies De Moderne Mecenas and Ik ben ook mecenas, this thesis found that agency and elitism merge as the defining characteristics of the discourse around the present day woman patron. The discourse analysis reveals that the present day woman patron claims agency through narration, the care and rights perspective and, simultaneously, troubles the public/private split. In addition, the elite position the present day woman patron takes on in our society is explored through economic, social, cultural and symbolic capital and mystification as a tool. In sum, it was found that the present day woman patron claims agency through her art patronage, but does not subvert the entire order of the art patronage community. However, by being a woman patron she does trouble the order from within by showing that art patronage is not necessarily ascribed to men. In addition, by exploring the underlying processes of the different forms of capital and mystification which the present day woman patron uses to legitimise her social position, the membership of the present day woman patron of the elite art patronage community was established.