Democracy and the Arts: The Role of Participation

By Terri Lynn Cornwell | Go to book overview

because fewer households subscribe to cable, and those that do tend to be less educated and less arts-oriented than VCR owners, the latter technology holds more promise for increasing arts participation. 40

The effect of this increased use of technology on arts participation, however, is still a matter of debate. In 1981, Jon Goberman, director of Media Development for the Lincoln Center in Washington, DC, presented a speech entitled "Cable -- Destiny or Destination?" in which he explored the electronic future of the arts and enumerated several fallacies. Cable does not, he stressed, ensure new audiences for the arts: "Right now, and for the future, we're in no better position with cable than we are with the networks, indeed, worse, because cable has neither the programming revenues to deal with us, nor the occasional guilt of the networks." 41

Another fallacy: the arts are an unlimited resource for broadcasting. According to Goberman, once you have programmed blockbuster hits and major stars, audience drops off by 50 to 75 percent, and even though viewers say they want more cultural programming, they only want more movies. He noted that surveys indicate a desire for more ballet and chamber music, but "I think that's the result of the fact that [we have greatly] underestimated the capacity of the American public to lie about the arts." 42

Perhaps advertising, "the rhetoric of democracy," and its sister discipline, public relations, have persuaded people that they should like cultural activities and that a dose of ballet or opera via cable would be easier to take. Whatever the reason, the effects of technology on individuals and their arts participation levels are still being debated.

Like participation in politics, participation in the arts is complex, influenced not only by demographic factors, but also by the particular problems of American macrodemocracy enumerated in this chapter. Chapter 8 looks more closely at the arts in mid-twentieth century America and the particular role of participation.


Notes
1
George Will, "American Politics Today"," in Tocqueville's America 1982, p. 18.
2
Ibid., p. 28.
3
This lobbying effort was also responsible for an increase in membership of the newly formed Congressional Arts Caucus. Members of the House of Representatives who joined the caucus were able to tell their constituents that they were -- at the very least -- keeping them informed about issues in the arts.

-119-

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Democracy and the Arts: The Role of Participation
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Figures vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Preface xi
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • 1 - Democracy and the Arts: An American Perspective 1
  • Notes 9
  • 2 - Democratic Theory: General Considerations 11
  • Notes 28
  • 3 - Participation in the Arts: A Historical Perspective 31
  • Notes 45
  • 4 - Participatory Democracy and the Arts 49
  • Notes 76
  • 5 - Democracy and the Arts in Ancient Greece 83
  • Notes 89
  • 6 - Nineteenth-Century American Democracy and the Arts 93
  • Notes 103
  • 7 - Twentieth-Century American Democracy 107
  • Notes 119
  • 8 - Participation in the Arts: Mid-Twentieth Century America 123
  • Notes 158
  • 9 - The Role of Participation: Implications and Recommendations 165
  • Notes 185
  • Appendices 189
  • Bibliography 199
  • Index 209
  • About the Author *
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