chapter  11
11 Pages

Culture, Politics and the Cultural Industries

Reviving a critical agenda
ByGraeme Turner

It is possible to present a narrative which can trace the genealogy of the study of the cultural industries back to the beginnings of cultural policy studies in the late 1980s and early 1990s, a period when cultural policy occupied centre stage for reformist governments in the UK, Australia, and much of western Europe. Crudely put, where the central focus of cultural policy studies was upon a broadly defined notion of culture and the politics of its construction, the focus of creative industries was upon a narrowly defined notion of the economy and the instruments of enterprise. The cultural industries can do more than simply support small business enterprises, or participate in the project of wealth creation, and the approaches to their study and analysis which underpinned different versions of the field remind us of that potential: their focus was upon the capacity of these industries to improve the cultural and political conditions in which communities live.