Attached is my Introduction to The Creative Industries, Culture and Policy. The manuscript is now with my publishers Sage, and the book will come out in 2011. Any comments on this are welcome.
In order to understand relations between contemporary cultures and public policy, we need to recognise the significance to two moments since the end of the Second World War in 1945 in the history of thinking about culture. The first involves the rise of cultural studies … If cultural studies has been both a set of concepts and an intellectual formation that have been transforming how we understand, interpret and act upon contemporary culture, this book points to a second such moment, which has its origins in the 1970s but accelerates in significance from the late 1990s onwards, and that is creative industries. Narrowly defined, creative industries was the term used by Tony Blair’s “New Labour” government when it came to power in Britain in 1997 to develop new policies for industries associated with the arts, media, design and digital content, but the uses of the term have always been more ambitious than is suggested by these origins in policy discourse, and the ideas that underpin creative industries have broader and deeper roots than would be suggested by the pragmatic politics of the Blair and Brown governments. While this book begins with an overview of the British experience with creative industries, and how it evolved as a policy discourse, it is a contention of this book that creative industries has captured a set of trends of much wider global provenance than these origins would suggest. Like cultural studies, creative industries is a concept that is reshaping how we think about culture, and particularly about the forms of public policy that are being developed in relation to the areas that come to be within its purview. While it is noted that terminology changes across countries, with come referring to the cultural industries, the copyright industries, the digital content industries, and even – as in China – the cultural creative industries, the underlying questions that have been opened up by creative industries debates are not a genie likely to be put back in the bottle, or even a term that disappears with such erstwhile staples of the 1990s and 2000s as ‘New Labour’, the ‘Third Way’, the ‘new economy’ or ‘Cool Britannia’.