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It presents a number of responses to the changing relationship between culture and economy, and to the way in which the cultural turn has sought to understand it.

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Shipped from UK. Established seller since Seller Inventory LQ In Protective Shrinkwrap! We ship all orders with delivery confirmation!. Seller Inventory YB In the late s, theorist Fredric Jameson argued that the social space was completely saturated with the image of culture. According to this declaration, culture plays a crucial role in social and economic development, since the cultural and creative industries generate jobs and income and attract investment.

Culture and Economy After the Cultural Turn

Despite the high expectations we might have regarding the value of culture, however, the effects and benefits of showing politicized art and organizing cultural discussions and exchanges are unpredictable. The relationship between the cultural and political spheres that is, the instrumentalization of culture in the name of politics is nothing new. In transcending this contradiction, I am interested in explicating why art subsumed to the demands of the cultural and creative industries, subsidized by the state, market, and corporations is considered a privileged field of politicization and even an integral part of political action and voice when it comes to anti-hegemonic practices.

What are the implications of this for committed, autonomous art? With the advent of industrialized culture, however, once mass society became interested in cultural values and began to monopolize culture for its own ends, transforming cultural values into exchangeable values, a fusion between art and politics occurred in the greater cultural sphere. These include the internet, society, culture, means of mass communication, and symbolic and affective regimes.


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  • Within the Infosphere, cultural currents flow across cultural space, changing the language and forms of self-representation and the meaning of reality. In the context of the Infosphere, it has been said that political activism implies spreading and sharing the desire to change lifestyles, and that social movements are the vehicles for spreading desires and implementing changes.

    Neoliberal policies tend to erode ways of life. On one hand, creativity and culture lie at the heart of the struggles that social movements engage in, because their primary means are information and communication technology, which are instrumental when it comes to challenging existing power structures and creating alternative means of dialogue.

    On the other, we have to consider that politics has become a question of epistemology, a means of expression and a technique for making certain topics intelligible—topics which gain relevance the more visible they are in the media and sociopolitical fields, enabling them to mobilize emotions such as fear, insecurity, indignation, and anger. This distinction brings to light the abysmal disconnect between committed criticism and national strategy, between politics as a means of circulating content and politics as official policy.

    Larry J. Ray & R. Andrew Sayer, Culture and Economy After the Cultural Turn - PhilPapers

    It could even be argued that politics as a means of circulating content benefits the power structure under the logic of repressive tolerance freedom of expression is a sign of a healthy democracy : messages are contributions to the circulation of content, not actions seeking answers, and the exchange value of messages overtakes their use value. It runs the risk of reducing politicized art to a simple beautification program in gentrified neighborhoods, museological factories, and corporate parks. Changing forms of life is not about creating a reality antagonistic to the prevailing one, because it perpetuates the blockage of what could be.

    To modify forms ways of life instead of building a distinct reality—negating the established way of life, its institutions, its material and intellectual culture, its liberal morality, its forms of work and entertainment—is self-repression. What must be taken into account is that some recent social movements have been fighting to maintain their ways of life—their privileges—rather than to change them.

    Craig Rawlings and John Mohr

    Besides artistic production that is at the center of social movements along with communication, critical theory, and self-organization, as we have seen , there is autonomous art—that is, art that is not created specifically to serve social movements or causes. More than other forms or expressions with the possible exception of film and theater , art that is produced for museums or biennials occupies a privileged space of politicization, while simultaneously being intimately linked to neoliberal processes.

    By this I mean that today art plays the twin roles of compensating and reducing the effects of neoliberalism, while at the same time actively participating in the new forms of predatory economics and geopolitical power distribution, thus contributing to the transition to the New World Order.

    How culture determines economic status

    By being at the center of population displacement processes in impoverished urban areas in order to renovate them and generate capital in other words, gentrification , and by abetting speculation and urban marketing, branding, and cultural engineering. Cultural engineering embodies corporate and government interference in the design and form of living spaces, because it means developing projects with the goal of constructing realities in which culture acts as a fundamental element of innovation, dynamism, and individual and social welfare.

    For example, culture has been used to revive economically depressed areas, develop educational strategies, and design social spaces. By being present in every corner of the world as an instrument of intervention and improvement—and to promote liberal values—contemporary art also helps normalize neoliberal policies. This sort of thing is possible because cultural expressions are easily integrated into the global panorama of states of emergency, militarized zones, and permanent war, which have become the norm in the early twenty-first century.

    When it comes to contemporary art, we must also consider that the bourgeois order that sustains the economy—along with the internal conditions of producing, exhibiting, and consuming art—are strictly taboo: untouchable by even the artists considered most radical. We must also take into account that society disproportionally rewards A-List artists, curators, and other cultural producers in a way not unlike it rewards managers or CEOs of massive corporations, conferring on them direct membership in the new oligarchy.


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    • To conclude, could politicized art, as Hito Steyerl argues, as art that focuses not on what it shows but on what art does and how it does it. Cultural institutions are the administrative organs of the dominant order, and cultural producers actively contribute to the transmission of free market ideology across all aspects of our lives. Dissatisfied with competing under the terms laid down by the creative and cultural industries, the production of committed autonomous art would be posited as a precarious working site and would reawaken the hostility between society and culture rather than placating it with pseudo-political products for self-indulgent consumption.

      Addressing everyone, it would release itself from the circulation of content, interrupting it, communicating nothing. Politicized autonomous art would make visible that which does not exist from a different point of view, spreading the contagious attitude of those who have nothing to either gain or lose. Irmgard Emmelhainz is an independent writer, scholar, and translator based in Mexico City. Asian Studies. Cultural Studies. Health and Medicine. Legal Studies.

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      Political History after the Cultural Turn

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