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Sum up of week 3

Congratulations! You made it to the end of this third week!

This week, we provided a theoretical and historical background to critically reflect on the notion of cultural industries. We saw how cultural policies in Europe have referred to this notion in order to promote an economic approach to culture. We also tried to challenge the focus of European cultural policies on this economic dimension, and to rethink them on the basis of social challenges.

We saw that the notion of cultural industries resulted from the rising importance of the market in the cultural field. We discussed the debate opposing key 20th century thinkers such as Theodor Adorno and Stuart Hall, with regards to cultural industries. We also saw how the notion of cultural industry diffused in the policy discourse, in the UK, in Brussels, and in several European countries. These national and European strategies aimed at mobilizing culture to generate wealth and jobs.

We focused especially on cities, which have been proactive to develop cultural industries policies. We saw that cities tend to concentrate different sectors of creative industries, as shown by economic geographer Allen J. Scott, because of the importance of interaction and the presence of a critical mass of knowledge workers. But we also saw that creative cities strategies tended to restrict cultural policy to an urban growth tool, and to overlook social issues. Therefore, several experts we interviewed stressed the importance to put social objectives at the centre of urban cultural policies and emphasized especially the idea of promoting cultural diversity.

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This article is from the free online course:

Cultures and Identities in Europe

European University Institute (EUI)