What is the value of the arts?
conference contributionposted on 2002-01-01, 00:00 authored by Louise JohnsonLouise Johnson
In an age of globalisation, economic restructuring and rampant consumption, the "cultural industries" have come to be viewed as offering a source of social and economic salvation to declining towns, cities and regions. However, it is far from clear to what extent the arts, media and related tourism create employment, wealth, capital and community cohesion. What then is the value of the cultural industries and what concepts can be deployed to answer this question? This paper will report on one effort to devise a theoretical framework to assess the value of the cultural industries in one small Australian city. Drawing on Marxism, Pierre Boudieu and post-modem theory, it will develop a particular concept of "cultural capital" for use in quantifying and qualifying the socio-economic contribution of the cultural industries in Geelong, Victoria. It will argue that by linking Marx to Bourdieu around reformulated notions of "value" and "cultural capital", a theoretically rigorous framework can be distilled to assess and argue for the value of the arts. Such a concept has particular relevance and implications for arts managers.