A More Critical View of the Creative Industries: Production, Consumption and Resistance
Shorthose, Jim, Capital & Class
The UK government's Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) defines the creative industries as being comprised of:
Advertising Architecture Art and Antiques Crafts Design Fashion Film Interactive Leisure Software Music Performing Arts Publishing Software Design TV and Radio Visual Arts
This relatively new re-designation of artistic and creative activity as the 'creative industries' is a term that seems to have growing contemporary currency. This is, to a large extent, born of a particular focus on the role that artistic and cultural production and consumption plays within the capitalist economy. Consequently, many current discussions of the creative industries display a rather 'one dimensional' (Marcuse, 1964) analysis of cultural life, understanding it from a position firmly located within the locus of market mechanisms. The DCMS'S approach to the creative industries is similar to orthodox approaches to other industrial sectors within the national economy, and its attention is routinely devoted to auditing earnings, turnover, exports and jobs within the creative industries.
Wu (2002) has charted the shift towards the commercially-oriented focus on cultural production that has underwritten this new designation of the creative industries since the Thatcherite 1980s. Wu particularly highlights the encouragement of increased interfaces between artistic production and private business sponsorship; between cultural events and corporate advertising; between culture and the 'value added' to corporations; as well as the advent of privately-owned artistic collections as economic investments during this period. This shift towards a commercial agenda was accompanied by policy changes in public organisations such as the Arts Council of England, from policies that emphasised the support of the arts as a public good to those concerned with 'value for money' and the cutting of public funding for the arts.
The acceptance of an essentially commercial framework for the understanding and development of arts and cultural production has continued within the UK public sector. After the Labour Party's 1997 election victory, Chris Smith, the incoming minister for Culture at the DCMS, signalled a celebration of the role that culture and creativity could play for a national resurgence, after years of Thatcherite cultural philistinism. However, his focus on the creative industries is still very much a commercial one, located within the context of national economic growth (Smith, 1998) and seen through the lens that attendant assumptions about capitalism and markets provide. In the UK, cultural economists, government officials and cultural policy-makers at regional and local levels have taken this agenda on board, and limit themselves to the role that creativity plays in terms of regional economic growth and inward investment; job creation, business growth …
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Publication information: Article title: A More Critical View of the Creative Industries: Production, Consumption and Resistance. Contributors: Shorthose, Jim - Author. Journal title: Capital & Class. Issue: 84 Publication date: Winter 2004. Page number: 1+. © 2009 Conference of Socialist Economists. COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group.
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