New wine into old wineskins: cultural regeneration as symbolic economy

Voase, Richard (2004) New wine into old wineskins: cultural regeneration as symbolic economy. In: The Art of Comparison, 6th meeting of the ESA (European Sociological Association) Research Network for the Sociology of the Arts, 3-5 November 2004, Erasmus University of Rotterdam.

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Abstract

A new perspective is proposed on the process by which urban centres have sought to position themselves within the post-industrial, informational economy. Over the past two decades, cities have widely adopted policies centred on the process now known as ‘cultural regeneration’. These cities, faced with the loss of traditional industries, sought to acquire cultural facilities as a means of facilitating the growth of a new economy.

It is argued that cultural regeneration began, not as a suite of realities, but as a discourse in which municipalities, governments and supra-national bodies have been complicit. It is argued that this discourse, signs of which began to appear in early 1980s prior to the appearance of the term ‘cultural regeneration’, sought to establish a metaphorical map by which the post-industrial city would be recognised and its worthiness assessed.

As such, cultural regeneration was in the first instance an example of the sign preceding the real, or as Baudrillard would have it, “the map which precedes the territory...the map which engenders the territory”.

A study of the internationally-successful Contemporary Music Festival in the industrial town of Huddersfield, England, provides an illustration. The event had its origins in modest beginnings in the late 1970s. The festival owes its inception to artistic reasons, but its success subsequently became discursively harnessed for instrumental purposes. Reference to media comment at different stages in the festival’s evolution point illustrates the point.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Presentation)
Additional Information:A new perspective is proposed on the process by which urban centres have sought to position themselves within the post-industrial, informational economy. Over the past two decades, cities have widely adopted policies centred on the process now known as ‘cultural regeneration’. These cities, faced with the loss of traditional industries, sought to acquire cultural facilities as a means of facilitating the growth of a new economy. It is argued that cultural regeneration began, not as a suite of realities, but as a discourse in which municipalities, governments and supra-national bodies have been complicit. It is argued that this discourse, signs of which began to appear in early 1980s prior to the appearance of the term ‘cultural regeneration’, sought to establish a metaphorical map by which the post-industrial city would be recognised and its worthiness assessed. As such, cultural regeneration was in the first instance an example of the sign preceding the real, or as Baudrillard would have it, “the map which precedes the territory...the map which engenders the territory”. A study of the internationally-successful Contemporary Music Festival in the industrial town of Huddersfield, England, provides an illustration. The event had its origins in modest beginnings in the late 1970s. The festival owes its inception to artistic reasons, but its success subsequently became discursively harnessed for instrumental purposes. Reference to media comment at different stages in the festival’s evolution point illustrates the point.
Keywords:cultural regeneration, contemporary music, Huddersfield
Subjects:P Mass Communications and Documentation > P300 Media studies
Divisions:College of Social Science > Lincoln Business School
ID Code:5540
Deposited By: Richard Voase
Deposited On:15 May 2012 17:02
Last Modified:15 May 2012 17:02

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