Essential reading for anyone interested in (or worried about) the rise of the ‘creative industries’ in Canada:
by Marc James Lger
The televised parliamentary leaders’ debate of 2008 provided an indication of what cultural policies are imaginable at the level of Canadian federal politics. Now that governments and business are interested in the commercial potential of art and culture, artists find themselves in a curious position. This essay argues that what is required for a critical articulation of culture is not only a progressive approach to the links between culture, technology and the global economy, but a critique of the political economy of neoliberal cultural production that is able to politicise culture rather than culturalise politics. In the Canadian context, the near absence of any serious discussion of the creative industries is partly due to the emphasis on cultural identity and cultural nationalism. Identity, however, figures as part of a transnational process of symbolic production in which it has become seemingly impossible for the designers of cultural policy to construct a meaningful view of art’s social function.