The Non-Productive Role of the Artist: The Creative Industries in Canada

Essential reading for anyone interested in (or worried about) the rise of the ‘creative industries’ in Canada:

“The Non-Productive Role of the Artist: The Creative Industries in Canada”

by Marc James Leacuteger

Abstract

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.

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