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What are cultural industries?

This video discusses the main theoretical debates surrounding the notion of cultural industries and explains how it emerged in the European discourse

The notion of cultural industries derives from the rising importance of the market in the cultural field.

This video introduces the academic debate on the political role of culture, with two opposing stances: On the one hand, Theodor Adorno and Pierre Bourdieu view culture as a tool of the ruling class. On the other hand, Raymond Williams, Richard Hoggart and Stuart Hall view popular culture as symbolic resistance.

In the 1990s, the UK Department of Culture Media and Sports came up with an influential definition of creative industries, as the exploitation of individual creativity for generating wealth and jobs. The European Union also appropriated this term and identified three fields for its cultural policy: core arts, cultural industries and creative industries.

The video introduces a concentric model to classify cultural and creative sectors:

  • Core arts: Visual arts, performing arts and heritage
  • Cultural industries: Film, television, radio, music, books and press
  • Creative industries: Design, architecture and advertising

Share your thoughts!

Following on the predicaments of the Birmingham School, can you think of some cultural expression, or some artists, that illustrate the power of culture to contest the ruling classes?

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Cultures and Identities in Europe

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