Rethinking Cultural Policy

Rethinking Cultural Policy

Rethinking Cultural Policy

Rethinking Cultural Policy


a fascinating, thorough and expertly argued discussion of the modes and practices of cultural policy in an increasingly globalized and neoliberal world.
European Journal of Communication

Rethinking Cultural Policy addresses issues concerning culture, economy and power in the age of new-liberal globalization. It examines how public cultural policies have been rationalized in the past and how they are being rethought. Arguing that the study of culture and policy should not be confined to prevailing governmental agendas, the book offers a distinctive and independent analysis of cultural policy.

The book examines a wide range of issues in cultural policy and blends a close reading of key theories with case studies. Topics covered include:

  • Branding culture and exploitation
  • The state, market and civil society
  • How visitor attractions such as London's Millennium Dome are used for national aggrandizement and corporate business purposes
  • Cultural development, diversity and ecological tourism in poorer parts of the world
This is the ideal introduction to contemporary cultural policy for undergraduate students in culture and media studies, sociology of culture, politics, arts administration and cultural management courses, as well as postgraduates and researchers.


Jim McGuigan's Rethinking Cultural Policy is an important contribution to policy-oriented cultural studies. It succeeds in illuminating a new line of enquiry into several exciting topics at the heart of current debates. In the course of elaborating a critically reflexive approach, McGuigan challenges the prevailing instrumental imperatives of much cultural policymaking, where policies are formulated and enacted for economic and social purposes that are not specifically cultural. In a sense, McGuigan argues, cultural policy is being asked to do too much. Moreover, he believes, it has become increasingly implicated in neo-liberal ideology, that is, the belief that the 'free market' is the only satisfactory means of organizing culture and society around the world.

Rethinking Cultural Policy invites a thorough reconsideration of pressing concerns that goes beyond a narrowly instrumental and reductive treatment of cultural policy. It addresses a set of critical issues that include the relations between brand culture and global exploitation, the use of cultural policies in the interests of national aggrandisement and corporate business, and the impact of neo-liberalism on poor countries with regard to developmental tourism. In so doing, McGuigan questions emergent cultural capitalism from a position that stresses the need for research in the public interest and democratic debate. This is a fascinating discussion, and as such sure to be welcomed by everyone seeking to reinvigorate the key ideas informing the field of culture and policy.

The Issues in Cultural and Media Studies series aims to facilitate a diverse range of critical investigations into pressing questions considered to be central to current thinking and research. In light of the remarkable speed at which the conceptual agendas of cultural and media studies are changing, the series is committed to contributing to what is an ongoing process of re-evaluation and critique. Each of the books is intended to provide a lively, innovative and comprehensive introduction to a . . .

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